Charles McKnight says he already knew many of the Taylor English lawyers he's working with.
Charles McKnight says he already knew many of the Taylor English lawyers he’s working with. (John Disney/Daily Report)

Longtime Atlanta lawyers Charles McKnight and Allan Tanenbaum joined Taylor English Duma last week.

McKnight was a name partner at litigation boutique Nations Toman & McKnight and Tanenbaum was general counsel and a managing partner at Equicorp Partners, a private equity and business advisory firm focused on the fast-food industry.

McKnight said he joined Taylor English, which has almost 130 lawyers, to expand his business litigation practice and provide more support for his clients. “My former partners are great people and lawyers,” he said.

“It’s a different opportunity,” he added, explaining that, after spending the last 10 years at a three-partner boutique and 17 years before that at King & Spalding, Taylor English is a “middle ground” for him in terms of size.

McKnight represents financial institutions, insurers, manufacturers and other companies in business disputes, handling litigation, appeals and commercial arbitrations.

He said he already knew many of the Taylor English lawyers. “I’m practicing with lawyers I’ve known and respected for a long time.”

McKnight’s former partner, Michael Nations, said his firm is now Nations & Toman. “Charles is an extraordinarily good lawyer. We hate to see him leave,” he said. Nations started his firm with Gary Toman in 1995.

Tanenbaum formed Equicorp Partners in the mid-2000s with Frank Belatti, the former CEO of fast-food franchisor AFC Enterprises, where Tanenbaum had been general counsel.

Equicorp Partners is “winding down,” Tanenbaum said, and he was looking for a new opportunity that would allow him to stay engaged with longtime clients and business relationships. “Taylor English seemed like a real opportune place to do it,” he said.

His son Eric got him the job at Taylor English, he said. Eric Tanenbaum, also a corporate lawyer, joined Taylor English two years ago, after graduating from Emory University School of Law.

Tanenbaum said he’s going to continue advising businesses but now from the vantage point of a law firm. “My background at AFC and in private equity gives me a unique perspective. I have the resources at Taylor English to provide broad-based service to Taylor English clients and the longtime business relationships that I’ve developed,” he said.

Tanenbaum and McKnight declined to name clients.

Speaking from the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in Boston this week, Tanenbaum said he remains heavily involved with that group.

He will continue as cochairman of the ABA’s Legal Access Job Corps under incoming ABA president William Hubbard. Outgoing president James Silkenat formed the task force last year to find ways to connect lawyers seeking work with people who need legal services. “We are dealing with the paradox of an oversupply of lawyers in need of training and experience and an undersupply of lawyers to meet the legal needs of moderate income individuals,” Tanenbaum said.

The task force awarded seven seed grants in June to bar associations and law schools to start programs that offer employment to young lawyers and affordable legal services to the public.

Tanenbaum said he was just elected to the ABA’s Standing Committee on Audit. He is also a board member and treasurer for the ABA Retirement Funds Program and chairman of the program’s investment committee. The 50-year-old nonprofit is affiliated with the ABA and Tanenbaum said it has more than $5 billion under management for more than 4,500 U.S. law firms.

Tanenbaum just joined the national boards of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the LPGA Foundation. He’s also on the boards of the Atlanta Technical College Foundation and the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation.


The Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has hired an employment lawyer, Lori Shapiro, to assist its nonprofit clients. Shapiro, an employee benefits specialist, was a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, then spent a decade in-house, first at Employment Learning Innovations and then at Graphic Packaging International. Most recently she was an adjunct professor teaching labor law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She is the third staff lawyer for the group, which connects nonprofits in need of legal advice with volunteer corporate lawyers in the Atlanta legal community.

Lorie Maring has joined Fisher & Phillips as of counsel from McKenna Long & Aldridge. Maring advises employers on employee benefits issues, including how to respond to the Affordable Care Act.

Patent and trademark lawyer Clark Wilson has moved to Merchant & Gould from Gardner Groff Greenwald & Villanueva. Wilson has a B.S. in engineering from the University of Miami and earned a law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2005.

Troutman Sanders snagged four New York bankruptcy partners from global megafirm Dentons: Hugh McDonald, Jonathan Forstot, Patrick Fitzmaurice and Louis Curcio. Troutman “has made a conscious decision as a firm to commit to New York as one of our important markets,” said J. David Dantzler Jr., the managing partner of Troutman’s New York office, noting that the firm has hired 11 partners this year for the roughly 100-lawyer office.

The Republican National Committee named Atlanta lawyer BJay Pak one of four Rising Stars at its summer meeting in Chicago. Pak is a Georgia state representative (R-Lilburn) and a partner at Ballard Spahr. The RNC started the Rising Star program last year to feature up-and-coming Republican leaders.

Ronnie B. Wotorson of The Wotorson Firm won an Esquire Award from the National Bar Association’s small firm and solo section. The NBA is the nation’s largest African-American bar association.

Legal recruiter Richard Rice has returned to firstPRO Legal as senior vice president. Rice left firstPRO in 2010 to become managing partner of American Legal Search.