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VOL. 126 | NO. 4 | Thursday, January 6, 2011

Apperson Crump Continues Legacy With Growth

By Andy Meek

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These days, there’s a lot that’s new at the city’s oldest continuously operating law firm.

Developments within the past few weeks at Apperson Crump, a venerable firm founded the same year the U.S. Civil War ended, include new attorney hires, the acquisition of another law firm and the development of an affiliation for referral work with yet another firm.

It follows a string of highlights over the past 12 months or so that includes Apperson Crump moving its offices to the first LEED-certified office building in Memphis, Highwood Properties Inc.’s Triad Centre III at 6070 Poplar Ave. The highlights also include an advertising campaign underscoring the firm’s deep history and status as the oldest continuously practicing legal firm in the city.

In recent years, the firm expanded into personal injury and medical malpractice litigation when Gary K. Smith of Gary K. Smith & Associates PLLC merged with Apperson Crump.

The newest acquisition was effective Jan. 1 and brings Smith-Kimbrough & Associates PC under the Apperson Crump banner.

Smith-Kimbrough founder Cecil Smith, an estate planning attorney, will be a partner with Apperson Crump and will be joined by Eric Kimbrough, an attorney who focuses on taxation and estate planning, as well as two legal assistants, Kristen Walker and Amber Chapman.

That adds to Apperson Crump’s current bench of 26 attorneys, eight of whom focus their work on tax and estate planning.

The Smith-Kimbrough acquisition was a timely move for Apperson Crump for many reasons, not the least of which is the regulatory change swirling around federal tax laws regarding estates.

And the addition of Smith and Kimbrough will add depth and know-how in estate planning, asset protection, business and charitable planning and post-mortem settlement of trusts and estates to Apperson Crump’s existing tax and estate planning team.

Smith is a 70-year-old attorney who’s practiced law since 1968, has written more than 10,000 wills and trusts and is a former IRS estate tax attorney. He has no current plans to retire, though he said for several years clients have asked him what will happen to their files when he retires.

“Eric and I wanted to find a law firm that had the experience, training, knowledge and capability to take care of our clients,” Smith said.

Apperson Crump is retaining Smith-Kimbrough offices in Nashville and in Oxford, Miss., meaning that for the first time in its history, Apperson Crump will maintain offices outside Memphis.

Meanwhile, Apperson Crump also formed an affiliation for referral work with Wolff Ardis PC, a firm known for its banking and product liability work.

The relationship marks a renewal of old ties between a few of the lawyers at the firms. Apperson Crump senior partner Tom Buckner used to work at another firm with Wolff Ardis president and shareholder Mary Wolff and shareholder Patrick Ardis.

Wolff Ardis is a trial law firm that focuses on big cases and complicated litigation. A recent victory for the firm was a $7.5 million out-of-court settlement for a client.

The affiliation follows the announcement of another one Apperson Crump announced this summer with Jackson Shields.

Apperson Crump managing partner Richard Myers said close relationships are needed for such affiliations to work, which is why he said the Wolff Ardis link is a natural fit.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 5 19 209
BUILDING PERMITS 201 410 3,466
BANKRUPTCIES 35 119 872
BUSINESS LICENSES 9 32 361
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0