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Managing partner reports busy year for Brunini Law Firm

Brunini Grantham Grower and Hewes has been a part of the Mississippi landscape for more than 100 years and is one of the largest law firms in the state. The Jackson-based firm provides a full slate of services divided into three major areas of concentration — commercial, litigation and regulatory law — that are provided by more than 60 attorneys.

Even with all of its history and size, the Brunini Law Firm is currently in the midst of one of its busiest periods ever. In addition to adopting a new logo and developing a new Web site, the Jackson-based firm announced its plans to move into the mixed-use development The Pinnacle, which is currently under construction, and opened a new office in Columbus and reopened an office in Biloxi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The Mississippi Business Journal] recently asked Brunini’s managing partner Walter Weems about all of these recent happenings, the keys to the firm’s success and where the firm is headed in the future.

Mississippi Business Journal: The Brunini Law Firm has been around for more than a century now, and certainly has seen a lot of growth over its history. But the firm may have seen the most happenings over the last year than at any time in its history, true?

Walter Weems: I think that is a fair assessment. During the past year we have made a decision to relocate our offices to the new Pinnacle Building in downtown Jackson, we have reopened a Gulf Coast office in Biloxi and we have also opened an office in Columbus in Northeast Mississippi.

MBJ: Tell us about the new offices in Biloxi and Columbus. How long have you been planning these new offices? Why Biloxi and Columbus, and what services will be offered?

WW: We have been looking to reopen an office on the Gulf Coast since shortly after Katrina hit. We want to be a part of the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, and we believe that area of our state is rapidly reclaiming its position as a vibrant area for industry and commerce.

We have had the good fortune of representing a number of businesses in the Columbus area through the years, and our eyes were really opened to what is going on in Northeast Mississippi generally when Toyota announced its plans to locate near Blue Springs. Our decision to open an office in Columbus was driven more by a specific opportunity that presented itself rather than by a planning process. We think Northeast Mississippi has a lot going for it, and we look forward to being a part of that activity through our new Columbus office.

Although we now have three offices, we are operating as one firm. We will offer the same services through our Biloxi office and our Columbus office that we offer in Jackson, which includes the broad commercial, regulatory and litigation services that sophisticated businesses need from time to time.

MBJ: Talk about the relocation to the Pinnacle. How many square feet will your new headquarters encompass, and what will be some of the new headquarters’ amenities?

WW: We are scheduled to move to the Pinnacle during the fall of 2008. We will occupy approximately 50,000 square feet in that building. We will have a spacious lobby area and conference center on the first floor of the building, which will overlook and open to the garden planned for Jackson Place. Our attorneys and support staff will be located on the second and third floors, which will be connected to the lobby by a prominent interior staircase. Our second floor space will also open to a balcony area overlooking Capitol Street. The Pinnacle will have secure, climate-controlled access to the adjacent parking facility, which will be a convenience to our personnel and guests.

We think the Pinnacle is an important part of the revitalization of downtown Jackson, and we are pleased to contribute to that process.

MBJ: What has been the key to Brunini’s longevity?

WW: It’s hard to pinpoint one thing in response to this question. I have to think that one of the most important reasons for our longevity is our commitment to adding value to our clients’ businesses. We are taught from virtually the first day we join the firm that our job is to solve the client’s problem in an effective and efficient manner. We have also been fortunate enough to be able to attract people who not only are excellent lawyers, but who are also good people that are enjoyable to work with. We try to be competitive externally, but internally we try to be collaborative and supportive. Finally, we think of this firm as an institution, and those of us who have had the franchise passed on to us feel a responsibility in turn to keep the franchise strong for the next generation.

MBJ: What is your future vision for the firm?

WW: We want to continue to be viewed as a firm that provides excellent legal services and obtains outstanding results for our clients. We also do that by continuing to make this firm a good place to make a living, with a supportive work environment.

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at northway@msbusiness.com.

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