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Tully Rinckey’s Cortelyou discusses the law firm’s growth, marketing strategy

By Adam Rombel


SYRACUSE — Tully Rinckey PLLC, an Albany–based law firm that has a Syracuse office, recently promoted Graig D. Cortelyou to chief of operations.

Tully Rinckey says the promotion follows its recent expansion into the Syracuse and Buffalo markets, and positions it for more growth in the future. As chief of operations, Cortelyou directs Tully Rinckey’s marketing, business development, strategic planning, and corporate-communication efforts firm-wide. He oversees a number of initiatives, including public relations, client relations, recruiting, and information technology, the company says.

Tully Rinckey’s practice areas include family and matrimonial lawestate planning, employment law, military lawreal-estate law, commercial litigationbankruptcypersonal injury, and criminal defense, including DWI and traffic tickets. Its Syracuse office is located at 507 Plum St.

Prior to his promotion, Cortelyou was Tully Rinckey’s chief marketing officer. He first joined the law firm in 2007.

The Business Journal talked with Cortelyou by phone to talk about the firm’s growth plans and marketing approach.




Business Journal: How many total employees does Tully Rinckey have now?

Cortelyou: The law firm is up to nearly 100 now. He expects it to increase, but doesn’t have a firm target. Tully Rinckey is hiring in Albany; Washington, DC; Syracuse; and Rochester. 4/29/13 UPDATE: Cortelyou says that by year-end the law firm expects to increase its total employee count to 114. The firm also projects it'll grow to 54 attorneys by year-end from the current 46. And over the next five years, Tully Rinckey's target is to add 60 attorneys companywide, according to Cortelyou.  


Business Journal: You opened your Syracuse office last September. How many total employees does the office have now and how many attorneys? And, what are your plans?

Cortelyou: “We have five attorneys and three staff members. So, 8 total.” The office has been open 7 ½ months and the firm plans to get up to nine attorneys “within the next 6 to 12 months,” he says. “We’ve been engaged in intense hiring, making sure that established attorneys know we are filling the office.”

“We’re overwhelmed by the amount of the support the firm has received from the Syracuse community. We’re extremely happy to be here and happy to grow,” Cortelyou adds.


Business Journal: What’s your annual revenue?

Cortelyou: Tully Rinckey generated $8.8 million in revenue in 2012, up from $7.6 million in 2011. The firm has no target for 2013 revenue. 4/29/13 UPDATE: Cortelyou says the firm's revenue goal for this year is to grow to $12 million.


Business Journal: What percentage of the firm’s work is with business clients?

Cortelyou: “Probably about 25 percent in Syracuse, and that’s similar to the rest of the firm. We’re definitely trying to grow the services offered to businesses. The Washington, DC office does a great deal of employment law, working with businesses. That’s our bread and butter there.”


Business Journal: Please give us an update on Tully Rinckey’s rapid growth plans?

Cortelyou: “We had a great year last year. Our recent office opening in Buffalo is one piece of the puzzle. We’re focused now on [opening an office in] Rochester. And after Rochester, we’re evaluating other offices. Buffalo opened in the first week in January. We’re trying to open as soon as possible in Rochester. It’s contingent on the attorneys coming through the door. We’re seeking attorneys with established client bases and books of business.”


 Business Journal: Provide an example of the marketing strategies Tully Rinckey has employed to generate its growth.

 Cortelyou: “First is the emphasis that the firm has always had on web marketing. One piece to the puzzle is the You Tube channel we put together. We have at least 450 videos and 455,000 views on the channel. With video there are a whole slew of reasons why you want to do it. We’re communicating very complicated areas of law to individuals. And it’s important to break that down. We build rapport [with clients] and facilitate the sales process through the use of video.”

“Another example is the firm’s public relations — lending ourselves to the media 24/7. We target reporters on social media. We use video in our press work: shooting B roll for reporters. We proactively pitch ideas to the media including TV stations. We have had CNN call to have one of our military attorneys come onto The Situation Room program.”


Cortelyou received his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego. He is a member of the Association of Legal Administrators, Legal Marketing Association, American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, and the Public Relations Society of America. He has been featured as a legal marketing expert in local and national media outlets and has spoken at major legal conferences.


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