Legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa announced Thursday that it is joining forces with Hughes Consultants, a recruiting, executive search, and diversity-management company based in Atlanta that serves both law firms and corporate in-house legal departments.  

As part what the press release announcing the combination described as Hughes Consultants’ merger “into Major, Lindsey & Africa,” firm founder Melba Hughes is joining Major Lindsey as an in-house practice group partner. Hughes Consultants’ two other recruiters, Ilene Rosh and Nichole Andres Calandra, will join Major Lindsey as managing director in the in-house group and managing director in the associate practice group, respectively, bringing the total count of legal professionals at the combined company to 172.

Hughes, who launched her firm in the early 1980s after a stint in the insurance industry, says she decided to combine her business with Hanover, Maryland–based Major Lindsey because her clients were clamoring for a full-service firm. For instance, some of her clients—a list that includes Paul Hastings, Kenyon & Kenyon, Turner Broadcasting, and General Electric—would occasionally request assistance in finding contract and contract-to-permanent employees, an area in which her firm does not have expertise. 

“Those types of employees are a growing demand for clients as companies examine new avenues for getting work done,” says Hughes, who notes that Major Lindsey has a special division focused on recruiting specifically for non-permanent positions. 

Her clients can now go to one firm to get the full range of services instead of using multiple shops, she says. Major, Lindsey & Africa’s global presence—it has 21 offices worldwide—was a big draw, too, she adds.

Robert Graff, vice president of global business development for Major Lindsey, says Hughes Consultants has long been one of his firm’s main competitors in the Atlanta market, and describes Hughes herself as one of those who founded the legal recruiting business in the Southeast and across the country. “Over the past 15 to 20 years, I’d see Melba at conferences and say ‘Why don’t you come join us?’” he says. “There had been interest [in combining firms] on our part for quite some time.”

On the Thursday, the two firms acted on that interest.