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Craig Wittlin

Managing Partner, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP

Years in current role: 7

What was your biggest success in 2021?

At HSE, our biggest success was staying the course in 2021. When the pandemic began, we said that our priorities were simple – we would take care of our people and our clients – and if we did that, things would work out fine. While 2022 never saw the return to “normalcy” we expected, we stayed true to those priorities, giving our people flexibility wherever possible, and focusing on client needs. Our people continued to step up in ways I marvel at every single day.

What are your expectations for 2022?

While I hope that 2022 will bring an “end” to Covid-19, it is more likely that instead we will increasingly learn to co-exist with it and find ways to return to more “normal” times. That said, we have a keen awareness that we are not going back to exactly the way we worked pre-pandemic, and that is a good thing. We will be a more flexible organization and look to leverage all we have learned over the last two years to create a different and better workplace while delivering effective and pragmatic solutions for our clients. Finally, we will continue to implement a forward-looking strategic plan that guides our overall diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts while helping us foster a better workplace.

What is your biggest takeaway from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?

People are flexible, creative, and adaptable, and able to find new ways to do old things. That has been true at our law firm, and across the country. The speed with which businesses pivoted to a largely remote work environment, leveraging technology effectively and managing distributed teams is, in my view, the long-lasting positive impact of the pandemic. It is fascinating to think about how the business world would have reacted had this occurred just ten years earlier, before the technology had caught up.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at


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