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December 4, 2008 4:20 PM

Southern Belles: Bradley Arant and Boult Cummings to Tie the Knot

Posted by Brian Baxter

With visions of becoming a regional powerhouse and cracking the Am Law 200, partners from Birmingham's Bradley Arant Rose & White and Nashville's Boult, Cummings, Connors & Berry voted to merge on Wednesday.

The new firm will be called Bradley Arant Boult Cummings and, with over 350 lawyers, will be one of the largest firms in the Southeast. News of the merger was first reported by The Nashville Post (subscription required).

With more than 250 lawyers in its stable, Bradley Arant is the largest firm in Alabama. The firm is also well-regarded nationally, most recently having stepped in for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom when the firm was conflicted to negotiate a $100 million settlement for HealthSouth in a derivative suit.

With just over 100 attorneys, Boult Cummings is the Music City's third-largest firm. Boult Cummings and Bradley Arant initially entered merger discussions last year but called off the nuptials after the firm's couldn't come to an agreement on the details.

One year later, the two appear to have had a change of heart.

Boult Cummings managing partner John "Jay" Hardcastle, Jr., told The Nashville Post that his firm has spent most of the past two years "courting and being courted" by firms outside Nashville.

During the process, Hardcastle says, synergies between Boult Cummings and Bradley Arant in practice areas like IP, healthcare, real estate, and business insolvency became obvious. Hardcastle told the newspaper that the current economic crisis was not a driver for the merger, which itself won't generate cost savings.

"This merger brings together two strongly established firms that already share the same core values and similar cultures," Hardcastle told Jaffe Legal News Service. "It will give us a much deeper bench that will benefit out clients immediately, because we're expanding our areas of practice, industry knowledge, and geographic presence."

The merger will expand the reach of Boult Cummings, which only had offices in Nashville, to Bradley Arant's offices in Birmingham, Charlotte, Huntsville, Ala., Montgomery, Ala., Jackson, Miss., and Washington, D.C.

"It was important to both firms that we pursue a merger that facilitated true strategic growth, for both the short- and long-term," Bradley Arant chairman John "Beau" Grenier told JLNS. "This new partnership more than achieves that joint goal."

The merger between the two firms is expected to be finalized by the beginning of the new year.

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Hopefully that merger works out for everyone involved. Sounds like it's a good idea to me.

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