Caroline Kresky has moved her practice handling divorces and other disputes for wealthy individuals from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough to Ichter Thomas, a business litigation boutique.
Kresky, an equity partner at Nelson Mullins, joined Ichter Thomas as a partner on Aug. 16. She brought two staff members with her: Lori Thompson, a paralegal, and Abigail Barnes, who handles document management.
Kresky was trained as a commercial litigator and has developed a practice representing high net worth individuals in divorces and other disputes, such as business breakups, in her 11 years at Nelson Mullins.
Kresky said she decided that a litigation boutique handling a lot of trial work was a better fit for her practice than a large corporate firm.
“My practice kind of exploded in the last two or three years, and I needed accomplished help in getting the cases done,” she said, explaining that her practice had been fairly self-contained at Nelson Mullins.
Kresky said she got to know Cary Ichter from referring him cases. In one divorce case, he represented her client’s company, which was having some legal issues.
Over the last three years Kresksy has brought Ichter in as co-counsel on several high-asset divorce cases going to trial.
“She was a good partner at Nelson Mullins, and we will miss her,” said Michael Hollingsworth, the managing partner of Nelson Mullins’ Atlanta office. Hollingsworth said his firm will continue to work with Kresky, handling real estate, tax and other matters that arise in some of her cases.
“Her practice is centered on high-end domestic relations, which is set up better for a boutique litigation firm than a large corporate firm,” said Hollingsworth. “Caroline is a great lawyer, and she is going to do well at Ichter’s firm.”
Ichter Thomas, which launched three years ago, has six lawyers with Kresky.
“A domestic relations practice is more consistent with a smaller firm than larger, regional firms,” Ichter agreed. Kresky’s practice fits well with the litigation his firm handles, he said, noting that a high-asset divorce can spark ancillary business litigation since wealthy people tend to own companies or other assets.
“The kind of cases Caroline deals with are very big cases, which is what all law firms are looking for,” said Ichter. He said he’s worked with Kresky on several divorces with marital estates worth tens of millions of dollars.
“They were big cases, with huge amounts of paper, lots of discovery and disputes — and people in those cases tend to take things a little more personally,” he said.
Kresky said she’s working on a trust dispute in excess of $50 million right now. In addition to divorces, she handles probate and trust litigation, business break-ups and disputes over employment covenants. She’s also representing investors and developers in real estate litigation.
“I had a very lovely relationship with Nelson Mullins, and I was sorry to leave,” said Kresky. “They treated me spectacularly well.”
Kresky, 66, was trained as a business litigator. She started out as an associate at Paul Hastings then moved to Branch, Pike & Ganz with her mentor, Thomas Branch. That firm was acquired by Holland & Knight in 1995.
She developed her practice representing high net worth individuals after joining Nelson Mullins in July 2011. Kresky’s aim was to develop her business litigation practice — but then Sept. 11 happened and “the whole world turned upside down,” she said.
In the economic slump that followed, Kresky said, corporate litigation dwindled. Meanwhile, business people were asking her if she could handle divorces, probate matters and business breakups.
“As a female, I saw that women have a hard time getting ahead in the practice of law because they don’t have their own client base,” she said. “I saw that opportunity was knocking and I said yes.”
“It was a wonderful opportunity for me as a woman to develop my own practice,” she said. “I represent people. They can be gigantic cases, but they are still individuals.”
She said Nelson Mullins supported her new direction. “There are very few family lawyers in large firms. It’s a different model,” she said. “Nelson Mullins was always very gracious … but they were never in the same arena I was.”
Kresky said the growth in her practice in recent years prompted her to make the change, adding that she joined Ichter Thomas, in part, to have co-counsel on large cases that go to trial.
Kresky expected divorce work to slow after the financial meltdown of 2008, but said she found the opposite to be true. “Well-to-do people thought it was a good time to get divorced, because their assets were down and there was less to split,” she said.
John Meyers has joined Barnes & Thornburg‘s labor and employment practice as a partner from Seyfarth Shaw, where he was a partner. Meyers has handled both labor disputes and employment cases for management for 30 years, including labor arbitrations, National Labor Relations Board matters, non-compete agreements, employment discrimination and wrongful discharge matters.
Jeffrey Lowe has joined King & Spalding‘s capital transactions and real estate practice as counsel from Locke Lord, where he was a senior associate. Lowe handles real estate finance, capital markets, private equity and property-related transactions.
King & Spalding has expanded its real estate practice internationally this year. It added Axel Schilder to its Frankfurt real estate practice in February, then established a real estate practice in Paris with the addition of a seven-lawyer team from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in May, led by partners Benoit Marcilhacy and Pascal Schmitz. It added real estate capabilities to its London office with the addition of Nigel Heilpern in July, who had headed Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson’s London real estate practice.
Jones Day has hired eight first-year associates for its Atlanta office, including a clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Brian Lea, who joins the firm’s appellate practice, clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas after receiving his law degree from the University of Georgia.
John Cates is also a graduate of the University of Georgia Law School. Brian Batchelor and Matt Shechtman are graduates of Emory University Law School. Michael Patel has a law degree from Georgia State University. Nick Foreste and Mary Alexander Myers are graduates of Vanderbilt University’s law school, and David Bouchard received his law degree from New York University.
Paul Hastings will move its offices on Sept. 24 from Bank of America Plaza, at the corner of Peachtree Street and North Avenue, to The Proscenium building, located at 1170 Peachtree St. N.E., at 14th Street. The firm will occupy the 19th, 20th and 21st floors of the 24-story Proscenium.
Kutak Rock has signed a lease for 20,000 square feet at SunTrust Plaza. The firm has been located at Peachtree Center for 16 years. Andy Lechter, Michael Broome and Tom Kubis of Studley represented Kutak Rock and Travis Garland of Portman Management Co. represented the landlord, according to Bisnow, an online commercial real estate publication.
Georgia State University has announced five 2012 recipients of its annual Intellectual Property Legends award: Joe Beck of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, GSU head football coach Bill Curry, Emory University professors Dennis Liotta and Raymond Schinazi and the late Ray Patterson, a professor at the University of Georgia. The awards will be presented at a luncheon on Oct. 3 at the Ansley Golf Club. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets, which cost $35 each.
The Health Law Partnership is holding its first fundraiser, called Shake It Up for HeLP, on Sept. 20. HeLP is a joint effort of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia State University College of Law that assists low-income children getting medical treatment with legal issues that can underlie health problems, such as mold in an apartment causing sickness.
HeLP has provided legal assistance to more than 1,000 families since its launch in 2004. The fundraiser’s goal is to raise money for more staff. The event, featuring cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction, will be held at Nelson Mullins’ office at 201 17th St. from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $40. Contact Susan McLaren at 404-413-0076 or email@example.com to R.S.V.P.