Hudson Cook could be the largest law firm whose practice includes all financial aspects of the automobile business. And co-founder Tom Hudson planned it that way.
He started representing bankers, insurance companies and dealership vendors in 1973, working at larger firms such as Venable Law. In the early 1990s, he began developing a practice with dealers as clients, something he hoped to develop at his own firm someday.
The opportunity came in 1997, when Hudson started Hudson Cook in Hanover, Md., with fellow consumer finance lawyer Robert Cook. Fast-forward 20 years, and the firm advises several hundred dealer clients in the areas of advertising, fair lending, credit reporting, and consumer and commercial personal property finance and leasing. A large contributor to the firm's expansion has been partner Michael Benoit, whom Hudson recruited as a rising lawyer a few months after launching the firm.
"The first companies that we started representing tended to be the large-rooftop companies — high-risk, spending money on legal compliance," Hudson said. "As time went by, we picked up a fair amount of small companies."