VOL. 125 | NO. 73 | Thursday, April 15, 2010
FOCUS Law & The Courts
HF Law Group Moves East for Clients
By Rebekah Hearn
The HF Law Group PLLC became the most recent business to announce its move from the central business district Downtown to the eastern part of Shelby County, when it announced last week its relocation to 3257 Sarazen’s Circle.
Bob Flynn and Michele Howard-Flynn, the firm’s principals, said the main reason was to be closer to most clients.
The new location will quadruple the space the firm previously occupied, offering 4,500 square feet with five offices, a conference room, a reception area and lobby and kitchen/break room.
The firm plans to keep a Downtown presence at its old offices in Suite 500 of 119 S. Main St., mostly to accommodate the firm’s mediation practice.
“We don’t want to inconvenience other lawyers, too,” Bob Flynn said. “If you’ve got a deposition and you’ve got us out here and three other lawyers Downtown, you obviously want to be able to work with all your peers.”
Flynn said being farther from the Shelby County Courthouse shouldn’t be a problem.
“You find out that really, it’s more important to be near to where your clients are, and so many things are done outside the courtroom in any event – meetings, depositions and so forth,” he said.
The firm has added staff recently, too, and the new space, with five offices, is more ideal for the larger group.
Howard-Flynn opened the practice in 2005, the first full-service entertainment law practice in Memphis. Her husband, formerly of Spicer, Flynn & Rudstrom PLLC, joined her in 2009.
Now, Bob Flynn’s son, Michael, and Louise Chandler are associate attorneys at the firm, and Flynn’s daughter, Elizabeth, is the marketing director. A University of Memphis student, Patrick Logan, is a staff member.
“We started contemplating the move around October or November of last year and really got active in November,” Bob Flynn said. “We settled on this (space) in early December. ... I’ve gone through this experience, so I had some foresight that you’ve got to plan ahead for things like telephones and … putting in a T1 and just little things like that, that aren’t little things at all.”
To make the switch easier on clients, the firm is keeping the same phone number.
Flynn acknowledged that other firms and solo practitioners are looking at moving east, and he said besides client convenience, “a life quality issue” is at work.
“Working and living in a little closer proximity is also a factor in this thing,” Flynn said.
He said he and his wife live close enough to the office to bicycle to work.
Other businesses have vacated their Downtown properties in recent years.
SunTrust Bank Inc. was one of the most notable tenants to vacate its Downtown space in One Commerce Square, leaving a large hole in the building that once bore the company’s name. The building was foreclosed in June.
In 2004, Martin Tate Morrow & Marston PC moved from Downtown to its current location at 6410 Poplar Ave. That was the last big firm to leave a vacancy Downtown, said Memphis Bar Association president Anne Fritz.
Fritz said several firms, such as the HF Law Group, have two offices, one Downtown and one out east, with the eastern location serving as a kind of satellite office.
“But that may be changing, with the east office becoming the main location and the Downtown office as a satellite location,” Fritz said in an e-mail. “I would say that the general trend is for law firms to move out east.”
She said she has heard of other Downtown-based law firms are considering such a move.
Center City Commission President Jeff Sanford said while some law firms have consolidated their offices in other parts of the city, “we still have a very vibrant legal community in Downtown.”
“To lose one Downtown tenant is to lose one too many,” Sanford said, emphasizing that the CCC always seeks to bring in more office tenants. “We are working with not just law firms, but other office tenants to make sure that Downtown still represents a good option for them.”