Larry Montgomery, member with Glankler Brown PLLC, has been named a Top Lawyer in American Lawyer/Corporate Counsel’s 2013 Top Rated Lawyers in Insurance Law, based on his Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating.
Montgomery’s area of practice focuses on insurance coverage and insurance broker defense work, as well as the defense of banks, both open and closed. The business of defending the directors and officers of closed banks has seen a boost in the past five years with the FDIC having closed 300 to 400 banks, Montgomery said. It’s a work situation similar to that of the Savings & Loan failures in the 1980s and 1990s.
Though not every bank is sued upon closure, when it does happen, he said, “They’ve got a three-year statute of limitations to do something about it … and we’re coming up on that with a lot of banks, so I think there’s going to be a flurry of activity over the next two or three years, then I think it may calm back down some.”
It’s a niche that grew from experience gained at previous firms at which he worked over the years, such as Armstrong Allen; Humphreys, Dunlap, Wellford, Acuff & Stanton; and McDonnell Dyer.
Montgomery was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and raised in Atlanta. Planning all along to be an attorney, he knew it was important to find an undergraduate program with a high acceptance rate into law school. With an acceptance rate of 90 percent, that school turned out to be Georgia Tech, where he studied management and took the mound as pitcher for the Yellow Jackets baseball team for four years.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in industrial management, with honors, in 1978, he went to Emory University Law School and, while there, interviewed with Armstrong Allen, the firm that would bring him to Memphis.
As a new lawyer, his practice focused on employee benefits and in the area of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). He said he “quickly concluded that that’s not what I wanted to do, and quickly got into commercial litigation.”
That change would come with Humphreys Dunlap.
“In the back of my mind, I always thought I was going to be a litigator,” Montgomery said.
Though most of his insurance work gets resolved on summary judgment, the bank work does see him in court more often. It’s a challenge he enjoys as long as the detailed preparation has been done ahead of time.
“I think what you do before you get into court is frequently more important than what happens in court,” he said. “Court is exciting and fun, and we’ve got good judges around here and we’ve got good lawyers. I would put Memphis’ lawyers up against the lawyers from any city in the country.”
He joined Glankler Brown in 1995 and has grown over time into his specialty. He enjoys the work he does and his adopted hometown, never considering a move back to Georgia or Florida. He considers it an honor to have been singled out as a top-rated insurance lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
“We can hold our own with anybody in the country on insurance coverage work,” he said. “We work with firms from New York, D.C., L.A., Chicago, and we always hold our own with them, that’s for sure.”
Montgomery’s pride extends to the legal community at large.
“I’m proud of the Memphis Bar,” he said. “We have a lot of good lawyers in Memphis.”
He has litigated in state and federal trial and appellate courts in, among other jurisdictions, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
When he’s not in court or plowing through law books, Montgomery enjoys spending time with his wife, Frances, a portrait broker, and their three sons: William, 26; Vance, 24, a student at The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law; and Selden, 16.
You may not find yourself across the defense table from him in court, but you might pass – or be passed by – Montgomery on the Shelby Farms Greenline. The one-time college athlete is an avid cyclist who tries to get in 150 miles per week.
“That is the most diverse, great place in town,” he said of the Greenline. “That strip of asphalt is one of the greatest things that’s happened in this town in 32 years. It’s amazing to me.”