Jackson— At one point, it looked as if the law firm of Forman, Perry, Watkins, Tardy & Krutz, LLP, which has evolved into a multi-office practice with a national client base, was going to outgrow downtown Jackson. It was forced to use two separate downtown facilities to house its attorneys and staff, an arrangement that was less than ideal in terms of both convenience and efficiency.
However, the law firm is now finally going to be under one roof, housed in City Centre, which is being totally renovated. Formerly known as SkyTel Centre, Forman Perry is occupying 15 floors between the two towers of City Centre, located on South Lamar Street adjacent the Russell C. Davis Planetarium.
“We wanted to bring everybody back together, and, because we have grown so much, we were not using our space efficiently,” said Forman Perry partner Steve Hendrix. “At City Centre, we were able to customize the space to meet our needs. We’re really excited about it.”
In City Centre, Forman Perry certainly gained more space. For instance, the new facility encompasses six primary conference rooms versus three at its old site(s). And the law firm now has a supplemental conference room on each floor.
The office floor plan is generally uniform throughout the complex. The large rooms contain offices, all of equal size, around the perimeter with partitioned space for the staff in the center. Hendrix said the layout improves workflow and gives employees a comfortable environment in which to work.
The new facility also provides an 85-plus-seat training/conference facility, more than doubling the firm’s former capacity, important to Forman Perry, which does a healthy business in mass tort work that often requires bringing in a number of people at one time. Developed in conjunction with Parkway Properties, which owns City Centre, the training/conference area features wireless technology and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment.
Forman Perry also drew in a 70-seat attorney’s dining room.
Each day, the firm brings in food from a different Jackson eatery, and the dining room also features wall-mounted, big-screen plasma televisions and, as with all the other offices and areas, a panoramic view of the Capital Centre through City Centre’s tinted windows.
The facility also boasts a fully-stocked kitchen/break room in each tower that includes a state-of-the-art ventilation system and more big-screen televisions. And Hendrix pointed with pride to Forman Perry’s new, 6,000-square-foot fax/copy/scan center, an operation that is often relegated to the basement in other law practices.
Even the rest rooms have been renovated in a project that Hendrix described as “taking it down to the linoleum.” Raised ceilings and redesigning a level of the former parking garage into office space gives a view of just how extensive the project has been.
Security has also been addressed at the renovated facility. All areas, including the elevators and new parking garage, offer card-swipe access using Forman Perry ID badges.
The new City Centre Parking Facility is perhaps the biggest news in the renovation project. On March 18, a ribbon-cutting was held, officially opening the $8-million, 517-space parking garage. It is the first new parking facility to be built in downtown Jackson in years. Located adjacent to City Centre, the facility will not only serve Forman Perry and other tenants in City Centre, but visitors to nearby Thalia Mara Hall, Mississippi Museum of Art, Russell C. Davis Planetarium and Arts Pavilion.
At press time, Forman Perry’s move into City Centre was ongoing. Originally, the firm was hoping to have the relocation complete in mid-April, but the date had to be revised several times. Hendrix, who has overseen the project for Forman Perry, said he hoped to be fully in the new facility by June.
The contractor on the project is McMillan Pitts Construction Company of Pearl, while design work was handled by the architectural firm Dale and Associates of Jackson.
The Jackson office of Forman Perry has 124 attorneys and a total staff of 380 workers. Founded in Jackson in 1986, it is a general civil practice firm with a strong emphasis in tort, environmental and commercial litigation. Its practice areas are litigation, including a variety of specialties from asbestos to commercial disputes, and business and corporate practice, which includes general, lending, real estate and transactions/securities. Its spectrum of legal services ranges from bankruptcy and public utilities to antitrust and administrative law.
In early 2000, the firm opened an office in Dallas. This began a string of office openings in New Orleans (2001) and Houston, Texas (2002). Today, Forman Perry litigates throughout the U.S. for both local and national clients.
Hendrix said Forman Perry had no immediate plans to open more offices, but growth is envisioned. And the renovated City Centre will be the right fit for whatever growth the firm might see in the near or distant future.
“There’s plenty of room to grow here. We drew that in,” Hendrix said. “We’re excited about our new facility and our improved efficiency and operation that will result from it.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at email@example.com.
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