VOL. 119 | NO. 67 | Thursday, April 14, 2005
Firm Merger Aids Clients
Firm Merger Expands Services for Clients
The Daily News
They didnt imagine back in their days at the University of
Tennessee that they would one day work together on the other side of the state.
But these college buddies are doing just that, having formed
a partnership that began with a friendship more than 30 years ago in Knoxville.
Attorneys James Summers and Richard Allen Jr. merged their respective law firms
in December, forming Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie
We have remained friends ever since, and we have talked off
and on over the years about trying to get together, Summers
said. And the circumstances were such that it just didnt seem right. And then
this past year, another opportunity arose and we took a hard look and thought
it just might work.
Expanded services. The
firm focuses on labor, employment and litigation. Allen, Jim Simpson, Shawn
Lillie and Heather Fletcher joined with Summers, Robert
Green and Darryl Gresham, along with associates from their former respective
firms, Allen, Scruggs, Sossaman, Thompson, Simpson
and Lillie PC, and Neely, Green, Fargarson, Brooke
The new firm is located in Brinkley Plaza in the space previously
occupied by Allen Scruggs.
We each had our own issues; Ricks firm was oriented toward
labor and employment, and they handled some litigation on behalf of their
clients, Summers said. We were primarily litigation,
and we did some labor and employment but very little. I saw opportunities to
expand the labor and employment practice. I believe that Rick saw opportunities
to increase the litigation and to be able to meet the needs of his clients who
had increasing litigation needs.
We saw an opportunity to pull together some complementary
practices that would allow for growth and also would help us better serve our
existing client base. We had no conflicts. We believed that the cultures would
come together. We met, we talked and here we are.
Merger talks. Discussions
about the possible combination of efforts came about last spring.
When you look at the background of both firms and the
clientele and clients that we represent, as we put our business model together,
we saw it as a great opportunity to have growth in the future, as well as to
meet the needs of our clients, Allen said.
With the merger, clients of both firms have access to
expanded services. As such, the change has been well-received by clients of
The response has been, Not only are we glad to know that
were going to receive the same service that weve been receiving, but also
that youre going to be able to expand those services in other areas, Allen
We had an excellent litigation base in manufacturing and
transportation and construction and other general litigation, he said. By
having this labor and employment component, it gives us an opportunity to go
back to our current clients, and were able to provide additional services to
them. So from our standpoint, its been a wonderful coming together, a great
Growth potential. Each
firm brought five attorneys to the new partnership. The combined firm has since
made two hires, with the potential for more.
We believe well be expanding again, Summers
said. We see marvelous growth potential. Right now, were trying to get a
sense of where we are. People are getting acclimated to each other. Were
getting a sense of what we can absorb with our current staff and also what we
may need to do in order to take care of anticipated growth that we see.
The move reflects a trend nationwide among law firms to grow
through mergers and lateral hires. Allen believes its a sign of a growing
The economy has clearly turned around in the last year, he
said. And were seeing businesses become more active and to some extent
litigating more than they litigated around 2000. There is a national trend to
have law firms merge, but merging just for the sake of merging is not a smart
move. You have to know what you want to accomplish and then sit back and make
some strategic decisions concerning whether those objectives are going to be
met with the merger.
Focus areas. While adding an attorney here and there
is not out of the realm of possibility, the firm is not in a hurry to add
I think that right now, a labor and employment and litigation
focus is a fairly broad focus, if you think about it, because there are so many
different components of litigation, Summers said. As
to whether or not we would add practice areas in the future, obviously that
would depend upon our strategic needs at some point in the future and also the
needs of our clients. If we feel that there are opportunities in other areas
that we could succeed, possibly through lateral moves, then that might be
something we would consider. We want to be able to move where the opportunities
Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie
Founded: Dec. 1, 2004
Basics: The newly merged firm concentrates on labor,
employment and litigation needs of business clients. 763-4200, www.allensummers.com