Reuters – Atlanta-based Smith Gambrel & Russell and Chicago-based Freeborn & Peters will merge on Tuesday to form a law firm with 400 lawyers announced.
The combined company will have 11 offices in the US and three international offices in London and Southampton, UK, and Munich. Smith, operating under the name of Gambrel Russell.
Mergers of large and medium-sized law firms have accelerated as the pandemic recedes, and there has already been a steady stream of deals this year.
In it, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe said it plans to merge with Buckley, adding 100 lawyers to Orrick’s existing more than 1,000 lawyers. The transaction is expected to close in February. Alabama-based Maynard Cooper & Gale and Carolina-based Nexsen Pruet said they would form a law firm of his 550 attorneys called Maynard Nexsen. Two medium-sized Ohio law firms, Columbus-based Bricker & Eckler and Cincinnati-based Graydon Head & Ritchey, said last week that they would have a 200-person law firm by April.
Freeborn has recently entered into mergers with over 110 attorneys and offices in Chicago, New York, Tampa and Springfield, Illinois. Smith Gambrell has approximately 290 attorneys and 12 offices.
In New York, Freeborn will move into Smith Gambrel’s office space and will remain in his current position as managing partner after the merger is completed, Stephen Forte said. Smith Gambrell’s Chicago attorney moves into his Freeborn office in Windy City.
The combined company won’t have a headquarters, but Atlanta, Chicago and New York will have the largest offices, Forte said.
According to Joseph McCullough, chairman of Freeborn’s executive committee, Freeborn was overwhelmed by the demand for corporate jobs. He said the company evaluated the potential for a merger with its corporate practice’s growth plans in mind and that Smith-Gambrel was able to meet those needs.
Forte said the combined company is also eyeing expansion in its Florida base. He said he may bring in new attorneys to Tampa to boost commercial real estate and intellectual property offerings.
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