Butler Snow, the fast-growing Am Law 200 firm concentrated in the Southeast, will expand in Baton Rouge when all 17 lawyers from KSWB join the firm Jan. 1.
With the lateral group, Butler Snow will grow its office in the Louisiana capital to 24 lawyers, making Baton Rouge its fifth largest location.
Don Clark, chairman of 385-lawyer Butler Snow, said the firm was looking to beef up in Louisiana, and the KSWB lawyers are a good match.
He said the existing Butler Snow lawyers in Baton Rouge suggested initiating talks with the KSWB group, and discussions have been going on for about six months. The two firms’ Baton Rouge offices are located in the same building, and KSWB senior partner Lee Kantrow said they will combine in his firm’s larger office after the first of the year.
“We were targeting Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We still hope to expand in New Orleans as well,” said Clark, who will step down as chair at the end of the year.
He said the firm is engaged in “ongoing discussions” with lawyers in both New Orleans and in Dallas, but is also eyeing growth in Denver and the Carolinas. The firm was included in the Am Law 200 this year with a debut ranking of 155.
In addition to Kantrow, the lawyers joining Butler Snow in Baton Rouge include Connell Archey, Sidney Blitzer Jr., Diane Crochet, Keith Fernandez, Jennifer Aaron Hataway, George Holmes, Lee Kantrow, Jacob Kantrow, W. Scott Keaty, Allena McCain, Julie McCall, Joshua McDiarmid, John Miller, Randal Robert, David Rubin, Bob Tucker and Richard Zimmerman Jr.
Kantrow, whose father founded KSWB in 1933, said the move to Butler Snow will benefit his firm’s clients, because of Butler Snow’s broad range of practice areas and its network of offices.
Butler Snow, founded in Jackson, Mississippi, has 27 locations.
KSWB’s practice areas include mergers and acquisitions, corporate, litigation, real estate, employment law, estate planning, succession work and health care, according to Kantrow. He declined to identify the group’s clients, but said they include hospitals, large medical practices, accounting practices, industrial companies and private equity firms.
Kantrow said the firm has been approached many times about potential combinations, but this was the first time a deal made sense.
“The more we had discussions, the more we thought there was a fit of cultures, fit of professional standards [and] dedication of professional service,” he said.