Jay Peavy has opened his own plaintiffs shop after 25 years as a defense attorney, the last 18 years at Bovis, Kyle & Burch.

“It’s been piquing my interest the last five or six years. I’m turning 50 in July, so I figured if I was going to make the move, I’d better make it now or I’ll never do it,” said Peavy, who left Bovis, Kyle & Burch in May.

He is subletting space from plaintiffs attorney Pete Law at 563 Spring St., under the moniker Peavy Law.

Peavy said he’s getting referrals from Law, whom he’s had cases against, and from friends and his younger brother, Jim Peavy, a plaintiffs lawyer in Griffin.

He’s still doing defense work for a few clients.

“It’s hard to let go of everything, especially when you’re starting a new practice,” he said. “I believe the potential is far greater on the plaintiffs’ side than doing defense hourly work.”

Peavy said increased cost-consciousness by insurance companies was one of the motivators to switch sides.

“With the trend of insurance companies going to fixed fees and e-billing, which is costly, I thought the time was right to do this,” he said.

He said he wants to litigate and envisions taking cases for plaintiffs lawyers who don’t take cases to trial.

“I believe with my experience representing the insurance companies all this time, I know what buttons to push and what levers to pull,” he said.

Peavy said he’s got enough business to cover his overhead and pay himself while he builds a plaintiffs practice. “It was risky but it wasn’t all that risky,” he said.

“Jay is a really good and able lawyer. He is a terrific guy in the courtroom. He’ll do well,” said Jack Burch of Bovis, Kyle & Burch, which has just under 40 lawyers and handles defense litigation, aspects of construction law, corporate and family law.

Peavy said he wants to focus on auto and trucking cases, since a lot of his defense practice involved trucking cases, plus wrongful death and premises liability cases. “But I’ll handle anything,” he said.

He said he handled a range of cases as a defense litigator, including insurance defense and insurance coverage claims, product liability and construction.

BRIEFLY

James Ferguson Jr. has been named the chief legal officer of Randstad U.S., the staffing company. Ferguson joined Randstad almost three years ago and was previously a partner at Duane Morris.

Three Atlanta attorneys have been selected as 2012 fellows by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. They are part of a national class of 134 attorneys. Erica Mason, an employment litigator, is a shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Robbin Rahman, who practices bankruptcy and restructuring law, is an associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. Bruce Strothers is counsel for The Coca-Cola Co.’s North American Strategic Marketing Legal Team.

The Leadership Council on Diversity was formed in 2009 and is made up of corporate counsel and law firm managing partners interested in increasing diversity in the legal profession. The fellows program, launched in 2011, is a mentoring program to help participants develop professionally.

Jamie Graham has been named to Georgia Bio’s board of directors. Graham is a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend and co-chairs the firm’s health and life sciences team.

Larry Gold, a shareholder at Carlton Fields, has become the national chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. He is also on the board of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and the Southeastern regional board of the Anti-Defamation League. He’s served as president of Ahavath Achim Synagogue and as a board member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

Nedom Haley has been named Atlanta pro bono attorney of the year for Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Haley, a shareholder in the Atlanta office, has provided tax and corporate advice to nonprofits, including the Georgia Conservancy; Action Ministries Atlanta, which helps the homeless; and Beauty Becomes You Foundation, which helps low-income seniors. He’s also volunteered with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Cancer Legal Initiative.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough is funding an internship at Atlanta Legal Aid for Samuel Park, a law student, to work with the group’s Health Law Partnership, which helps low-income children who have been hospitalized and their families with their legal needs. The fellowship for Park, a rising third-year at Georgia State University College of Law, is named the 2012 Kenneth Millwood Memorial Fellowship for Children’s Law, in honor of the firm’s late Atlanta managing partner, who was a strong supporter of legal aid.

Hunton & Williams recognized eight of its Atlanta lawyers who performed more than 100 hours of pro bono service in the past fiscal year with its E. Randolph Williams Pro Bono Award. The attorneys include associates Shelly Anderson, James Humphries IV, Sean Rosario, Charlotte Ritz and Rhani Lott. The office’s pro bono partner, Rita Sheffey, was also recognized, along with Brian Green, a 2011 Emory law school graduate who is the firm’s resident pro bono fellow, and Aisha Blanchard Collins, the firm’s pro bono fellow from 2009 to 2011, who is now an associate at Pachman Richardson.