Brantley Rowlen of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith. (Courtesy photo) Brantley Rowlen of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith. (Courtesy photo)

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith has opened a Savannah office focused on liability defense—its 50th firmwide.

The four-attorney office is the firm’s second location in Georgia. It includes partners Brantley Rowlen and Jeff Ward, plus associates Kate Cappelmann and Donavan Eason.

The 1,300-lawyer national firm has embarked on an expansion push this year, opening the Savannah office just two weeks after launching a two-lawyer outpost in Charlotte. Lewis Brisbois has opened additional offices in 2019 in St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; Schererville, Indiana; and Salt Lake City.

Rowlen has relocated from Lewis Brisbois’ Atlanta office to head the new Savannah location, and the firm recruited Ward from Drew Eckl & Farnham’s Brunswick office.

A trial lawyer and mediator, Ward has practiced in the Savannah area since earning a law degree in 2002 from the University of Georgia. He served on the State Bar of Georgia’s Board of Governors from 2012 to 2018 and is the treasurer of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association.

“I’ve known Jeff for about 10 years, and you cannot find a nicer guy or better lawyer,” Rowlen said via email while traveling. “It’s exciting to have someone who had been practicing and mediating for as long as he has come on board to help things get off the ground.”

The associates, Cappelmann and Eason, also have relocated from Lewis Brisbois’ Atlanta office.

The Savannah office, located near the riverfront at 24 Drayton St., continues Lewis Brisbois’ expansion push along the Eastern Seaboard. In the Southeast, it has three South Florida offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, plus Atlanta and in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Lewis Brisbois has existing clients and matters in South Carolina, South Georgia and northern Florida, Rowlen said. “We look forward to the opportunity to expand that representation with some of our institutional clients who may not have historically sent matters due to the lack of a physical presence,” he added.

He declined to name specific clients in the region but said the firm represents “multiple lines of several major insurance carriers, restaurant chains and big box retail stores.”

The Savannah office “offers an opportunity to more efficiently service those existing clients as well as expand [Lewis Brisbois’] national footprint with a centrally located, regional office to continue representing institutional clients in new locales,” Rowlen said.

Rowlen was one of the original five lawyers who opened Lewis Brisbois’ Atlanta office 10 years ago.

“When the idea of opening an office in Savannah came about,” he said, “I volunteered for the opportunity to help start another new office and help grow the firm with good people in a great city.”

Rowland added that he has clients and matters in South Georgia and South Carolina, which made relocating to Savannah an easy decision.