Balch & Bingham has landed two new partners, litigator Dean Calloway from Jones Day and banking and finance lawyer Michael Wing from Greenberg Traurig.
Josh Archer, the Atlanta managing partner for the Birmingham-based firm, said mid-career lawyers with Calloway and Wing’s experience are "exactly what a firm like us trying to make its way in Atlanta needs."
Both new Balch partners are in their mid-40s.
"Finding those candidates is easier said than done, so finding two is a good way to start the year off for us," Archer said.
He said the firm recruited Wing to lead its Atlanta banking practice, which Walter Jones, who recently became a partner, had been building.
"We felt that someone with Mike’s seniority—he’s about 10 years senior in practice to Walt—was someone we needed on the ground in Atlanta," Archer said.
Archer said the firm got to know Wing through Jones’ practice.
Balch has been investing in its banking practice, a strength for its Birmingham headquarters. In October, the firm acquired a six-lawyer banking boutique in Jacksonville, Stoneburner Bery Glocker Purcell & Greenhut, for an outpost in the Florida market. The 240-lawyer firm also has offices in Mississippi and Washington.
"Balch is a known banking firm but not so much in Atlanta, and we’ve had to build it from the ground up here. It’s great for us to get someone with Mike’s expertise," Archer said.
Wing said it was not an easy decision to change firms after 11 years at Greenberg.
He was part of a group there, led by David Kurzweil and James Sacca—now a federal bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Georgia—with which he’d worked since joining Macey Wilensky in 1998.
"That’s where I got the bug for the lender side of the practice," said Wing, who started representing lenders in commercial real estate loans, handling loan modifications and foreclosures.
He followed Kurzweil and Sacca to Altman Kreitzer & Levick and then Greenberg Traurig in 2002.
"I respect their talent and I learned a great deal from them," Wing said.
Wing said he joined Balch because "my banking clients are looking for value. They want a high degree of expertise for a competitive price."
"The rate structures that larger firms need to charge limit flexibility and limit the amount of service I can provide to my banking clients," he explained, referring to minimum fee requirements as well as the fees themselves.
Over the past five years, Wing said, lenders needed legal services at an "unprecedented rate," due to the financial meltdown. But now that the market is stabilizing, he said, "banks are more sensitive to the value of legal services and keeping costs down."
"I want to be responsive to my clients. Balch offered a platform to do that," Wing said. "I’ve been impressed with the high quality of Balch’s attorneys. It would not have been as attractive to me otherwise."
Wing declined to name clients but said his practice has primarily been in Georgia with work across the Southeast and beyond. "I couldn’t have hoped for a better platform than Balch."
"The toughest thing was leaving the people I’ve worked with at Greenberg. I was very involved over there. The people I told understood my decision process," he said.
"We wish our colleague well in this new phase of his career," said Greenberg’s director of communications, Lourdes Brezo-Martinez, in an emailed statement that she attributed to the firm.
Calloway is joining Balch after a career at the Atlanta office of Jones Day, where he started in 1996 after law school at the University of Chicago.
"He’s a good litigator. He’s got a significant academic background and a plan of attack for building a practice that sounds convincing to us. We think it will work," Archer said.
Calloway played college football at the University of Washington, then earned a master’s degree in policy and economic development from Carnegie Mellon University before law school.
The litigator said he too was attracted by the opportunity to be "a bit more entrepreneurial and flexible" in the post-recession legal market at a smaller, regional firm.
Over the past few years, Calloway said, he’s had several potential clients that "didn’t fit the Jones Day model."
"This gives me more flexibility and latitude to revisit those opportunities and make new ones," he said.
"Jones Day is a great firm with tremendous resources, but Balch & Bingham and firms like it have a fantastic opportunity to respond to changes in the market," Calloway said. "They have the same kind of expertise that a Jones Day might supply but a different equation as far as the value."
Calloway said his litigation experience is wide-ranging. It includes complex litigation such as class actions and health-care matters including false claims and anti-kickback issues.
He declined to name any clients but said a lot of his work tends to be in the South, making Balch a good fit.
Lizanne Thomas, the Atlanta partner in charge for Jones Day, wished Calloway well at his new firm. "Dean has been a thoughtful presence in our office and will be missed," said Thomas in an email.
Wing, who joined Balch last week, and Calloway, who joins Thursday, said it’s too soon to say whether they will bring clients to their new firm.
Balch also hired a first-year associate, Natalie Majeed, for its healthcare team.
Majeed took a health-law class from Balch partner Philip Sprinkle at the Miami University School of Law, where he is an adjunct professor. Sprinkle, who co-chairs Balch’s health law practice, works from the firm’s Atlanta office.
The Atlanta Bar Association has hired Jessica Galusha as its new director of continuing legal education, succeeding Mary Lynne McInnis, who retired after 27 years as the Atlanta Bar’s CLE director.
Galusha was an account director at Peach New Media, an online learning company which produces webcasts for the Atlanta Bar, where she worked with 14 state and national CLE providers. She will coordinate monthly CLE programming for the Atlanta Bar and its 22 sections, including webinars, webcasts and other online offerings.
"Her experience working with us and greater skill set will allow us to continue building on the award-winning CLE program that Mary Lynne has carefully crafted over the last two decades," said the Atlanta Bar’s president, Lynn Roberson, in a statement
F. Carlton King has rejoined Ford & Harrison as of counsel. King, who was in practice at King & Croft with Terrence Croft, said the two dissolved the firm at the end of 2012 after 19 years.
"Terrence and I had reached an age and stage where we did not need a law firm," said King, who made the move to Ford & Harrison because he’s still handling civil litigation. His wife, Joyce Fleming, retired from Ford & Harrison at the end of 2012, he added, "so I felt it was safe to come back."
King was a partner at Ford & Harrison, where he managed the litigation practice for several years, until forming his own firm in 1994. He also is an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law.
Croft is focusing on mediation and arbitration through his firm, Croft ADR. Both King and Croft continue to serve as neutrals exclusively through JAMS, King said.
R. Scott Campbell has joined plaintiffs’ firm Shiver Hamilton as an associate from Greenberg Traurig, where he was a senior litigation associate, defending product liability and professional liability claims.
He is the first lawyer hire for trial lawyers Jeff Shiver, who left Law & Moran, and Alan Hamilton, who left Butler Wooten & Fryhofer, to start Shiver Hamilton a year and a half ago. "We went from one lawyer and a computer in a small rented office inside another law firm to four lawyers, including one contract lawyer, two paralegals and a legal assistant, with our own space in Buckhead," said Shiver in an email. "Needless to say, we are having a lot of fun."
Shiver Hamilton is located at 3350 Peachtree Road.
Kirk Johnston has been named a partner at Smith, Currie & Hancock. Johnson is a member of the firm’s construction litigation, government contracts and risk management practice groups.
Littler Mendelson has made Wesley Stockard a shareholder in its Atlanta office. Stockard, who represents management in labor and employment matters, is one of 13 new shareholders for the firm.
Former Fulton County State Court Judge Brenda Hill Cole has joined JAMS, where she will serve as an arbitrator, mediator and special master in disputes. Cole was a Fulton State Court judge from 1998 until 2012. She served as a deputy attorney general for the Georgia State Law Department for 15 years before becoming a judge.
The Emory Public Interest Committee honored three Atlanta lawyers for their commitment to public interest law at the group’s annual Inspiration Awards at Emory Law School on Feb. 5. Robert Dokson of Ellis Funk received the Lifetime Commitment to Public Service Award. Jeffrey Bramlett of Bondurant Mixson & Elmore was recognized for Outstanding Leadership in the Public Interest and Tamara Serwer Caldas, the deputy director of Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, received the award for Unsung Devotion to Those Most in Need.
EPIC’s awards celebration is the student group’s annual fundraising event to provide grants for law students taking volunteer summer jobs in the public sector. Emory Law alumnus Daniel Bloom of Pachman Richardson was the master of ceremonies.
Emory School of Law professor Frank Alexander will give a talk examining the American ethos of home ownership in the aftermath of the recession on Feb. 20 at 12:30 p.m. Alexander is a national expert on the mortgage crisis and affordable housing. The talk will be at Emory’s Tull Auditorium. Those who R.S.V.P. by Feb. 15 will get a free lunch. The link is https://emorylaw.wufoo.com/forms/currie-lecture-rsvp/.