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Jackson, Laurel offices helping firm

Birmingham-based Burr & Forman growing presence here

The second-largest law firm in Alabama recently expanded its Mississippi practice by opening an office in Laurel.

Bob Gholson and Craig Orr, formerly of Gholson & Orr, PLLC, officially joined Birmingham, Ala.-based Burr & Forman as partners February 9, 2005. Former Gholson & Orr associates husband-and-wife Noel and Jennifer Rogers, Daniel Wallace and sports agent Marcus Evans, who primarily represents Southern baseball players, also joined the Alabama law firm.

“The Laurel office, coupled with our existing Jackson office, expands Burr & Forman’s footprint to provide litigation services throughout Mississippi and furthers our goal to grow strategically in the Southeast,” said Burr & Forman’s managing partner Lee Thuston. “This association will greatly enhance our practice, our ability to provide exceptional client service and is a natural extension of our client-focused growth strategy.”

Established in 1905, Burr & Forman employs more than 170 attorneys in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee and serves clients in a diverse range of industries, including automotive, banking, construction, financial services, healthcare, pharmaceutical and real estate.

Developing a relationship

“Our first contact with Burr & Forman was through John Chiles, and over time, we developed a very good working relationship with the firm,” said Gholson, managing partner for the Mississippi offices in Jackson and Laurel. “Burr & Forman had other clients with business in Mississippi for whom they wanted to offer the same services here, with local representation. They weren’t comfortable trying to service all of that from Birmingham, and I think clients wanted to see somebody on the ground here.”

Gholson pointed out, “Like every other thing in the field of law, the union happened gradually.”

“It took a while for us to get everything ironed out, but it all came together last year,” he said. “It was a good fit for us because Burr & Forman is an outstanding firm, and it was a good opportunity for us to join a really good group of folks. It better allowed us to serve our clients locally and broaden our client base.

“Laurel’s a small town. Sometimes, people look at a small town law firm and think, ‘Heck, they’re not going to be able to do what I need done,’ but if you have an affiliation with a big firm, you have access to their resources. It makes things a lot easier.”

Burr & Forman will continue to heavily concentrate on client industry trends.

‘Ahead of the game’

“We place an emphasis on trying to stay ahead of the game in a technological sense, and in terms of anticipating and meeting client needs,” said Gholson. “We do some unique and innovative things garnering feedback from clients, and I think they appreciate it.”

Around the same time that tort reform legislation moved to the forefront of the Mississippi Legislature’s agenda a couple of years ago, Burr & Forman expanded its Mississippi practice. The law firm moved into a 5,000-square-foot office on the 21st floor of the AmSouth Bank building after real estate developer Ted Duckworth completed a massive renovation project of the downtown Jackson landmark.

Last year, Burr & Forman relocated to the Heritage Building, which formerly housed the department store Kennington’s. Located cattycornered from the Governor’s Mansion, the tall ceilings and architectural elements of the historic building’s ground floor provided amenities that resulted in “a very unique office space,” said Gholson. Last month, the law firm held its first open house in the new offices.

“Burr & Forman is an outstanding firm that is growing its presence in Mississippi while continuing to do very good work in Alabama,” said Gholson. “I hope we can be an integral part of that growth and project the same sort of solid image in Mississippi they do in Alabama.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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