Veteran Business Mentorship Nominee
Thomas Craig, Esq., Managing Partner
1. Why do you think hiring & mentoring veterans is important for businesses and the Greater Washington region?
The lawyers and professional staff of FH+H passionately believe that the practice of law is about helping others, especially those who have served our country in any capacity. Hiring and mentoring veterans is essential in the Greater Washington region in order to ensure that these individuals are achieving their greatest potential.
FH+H supports organizations such as Capitol Post, which has helped countless veteran entrepreneurs grow their start-ups through business acceleration programs and networking opportunities.
We ourselves are a testament to the capabilities of veterans, as FH+H is a successful and growing law firm that is veteran-owned. Our firm wants to be a model and inspiration for other firms who are considering hiring veterans and veterans themselves who are looking to start their own businesses, and our extensive service to the veteran community allows us to effectively do so.
2. What makes your company stand out compared to others in supporting & hiring veteran employees?
FH+H itself is a veteran-owned business, which facilitates a particular empathy toward other veterans in our community. In addition to our founder, Joseph Fluet, having served for 20 years as a combat commander in airborne, air assault, and special operations units, we also have numerous veterans serving as partners at our law firm. Managing Partner Tom Craig served over 21 years as an active duty Marine, and Partner Jack White also graduated from West Point and served for five years on active duty. Partner France Hoang served in Afghanistan as an Executive Officer of a U.S. Army Special Forces Company and is a West Point graduate.
FH+H is also unique in that it boasts many firm-wide, ongoing efforts to support veterans and also encourages attorneys to use their legal expertise to help veteran individuals and veteran-owned businesses. Our lawyers regularly represent military service members and veterans unwittingly caught in the legal system – often for a reduced cost and sometimes pro bono – for matters including security clearance issues, administrative separations, and petitions for the correction of military records.
Additionally, FH+H attorneys serve as outside legal counsel for veteran-focused companies. For one, Partner Dave Jonas works as the General Counsel for the Marine Executive Association (MEA), which helps transitioning Marines with networking and resumes to help them find employment.
3. What advice would you give to other companies or organizations who are looking to hire veterans or would like to install a hiring veteran’s employment program within their company?
Companies wanting to hire veterans should partner up with other businesses that have similar goals. FH+H has co-hosted several events – either in our space or at a partner’s venue – which both allows our firm to see how other businesses that support veterans operate and helps us establish a network to strengthen the ties between veteran-supporting businesses.
For example, our firm hosted more than one hundred veteran entrepreneurs and investors in our event space for a pitch competition in September. The event was run by Bunker Labs and Capitol Post, which are business incubators that help veterans reintegrate into the working world, and it was sponsored by FirstWave, a group of service academy graduates who are also executives and professionals.
Another piece of advice that FH+H has for companies looking to hire veterans or install an employment program is to establish a culture of service to veterans and veteran-owned businesses at an individual level. The only way that a business can properly support the needs of veterans in our community is if their employees are aware of the difficulties veterans face on a daily basis.
The professionals at FH+H spend significant time working with organizations to help them understand the needs of veterans. FH+H Counsel Phillip Carter, for example, contributes research and policy expertise on veteran’s issues as a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. His writing has had a major policy impact on debates regarding veteran health care, veterans’ benefits, and military personnel policy, and he is regularly cited or quoted in articles on the subject by major media. His research about issues facing veterans and military personnel helps to inform leaders about making positive differences in veterans' lives.