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LOS ANGELES — Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart has merged with Lewis Fisher Henderson & Claxton to open two new offices in Memphis, Tenn., and Jackson, Miss. The merger also adds two lawyers to Ogletree’s Los Angeles office. Ogletree, a national labor and employment boutique firm with 365 attorneys, gains 19 lawyers with the merger, which becomes effective on July 1. L. Gray Geddie Jr., managing shareholder of Ogletree, said Lewis Fisher’s lawyers contacted his firm about two months ago to discuss a potential merger. “They had not been a target city, but once we looked at the opportunity they offered us, it was a deal,” Geddie said, noting that only one national labor and employment boutique, Ford & Harrison, has an office in Memphis. Lewis Fisher partner Thomas Henderson will become a shareholder and manage Ogletree’s new Memphis office, which includes fellow former partners Frederick Lewis, who is a co-founder of Lewis Fisher, Charles Holmes, O. John Norris III, Craig Cowart and Whitney King Fogerty. All become Ogletree shareholders with the merger. Co-founding partner Donna K. Fisher will join Ogletree of counsel. Also in Memphis, Conie Abernathy, senior counsel at Lewis Fisher, joins Ogletree of counsel, and two associates, Jeremy Ireland and Kristy Gunn, become associates of Ogletree. “From Memphis, you can service all of Western Tennessee, Arkansas and parts of Mississippi,” Geddie said. Lewis Fisher partner Herbert Ehrhardt will manage the Jackson office and become shareholder at Ogletree, along with two fellow partners at his firm’s Jackson office, Jerrald Shivers and Bethany Brantley Johnson. Joining of counsel in Jackson are: Vangela Wade, currently senior counsel, and M. Curtiss McKee and Emile Ott, both of counsel at Lewis Fisher. Ashley Eley Cannady, a Lewis Fisher associate, joins Ogletree as an associate. Linda Claxton, a partner, and Leslie Wallis, senior counsel, both at Lewis Fisher’s Los Angeles office join Ogletree’s 20-lawyer office in Los Angeles. Claxton becomes a shareholder, and Wallis, of counsel. Ogletree is on a growth spree, opening six new offices since the beginning of 2005. On Jan. 1, Ogletree opened new offices in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The firm opened its Pennsylvania offices after merging with Philadelphia boutique Simon Moran and Pittsburgh’s Polito & Smock. With the most recent merger, Ogletree now has 30 offices nationwide.

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