Jamal Edwards

Five lawyers from Dallas-based Culhane Meadows have left the cloud-based firm to form a brick-and-mortar firm, Edwards Maxson Mago & Macaulay, that has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and New York.

The new firm, headquartered in Atlanta and with additional offices in Chicago, Dallas and New York, is being marketed as EM3 Law. It was founded by partners Jamal Edwards, Susan Macaulay and Michelle Skinner, all in Chicago; Ajay Mago in Dallas, Chicago and New York; and Jim Maxson in Atlanta. The firm opened in early November, although Edwards said Maxson left Culhane Meadows in September, and he and the other co-founders left in October.

Mago said EM3 is structured to keep its overhead low by operating in small offices in each city.

Ajay Mago

“We have receptionists, dedicated assistants, and we have office space, but we don’t have floors of office space,” Mago said. “The overhead covers our firm meetings and covers our benefits and covers our technology and whatnot.”

This is a departure from Culhane Meadows, where, like at other cloud-based firms, lawyers work from home offices.

Mago said EM3 aims to do sophisticated work at a lower cost than large traditional firms and offer greater client service than virtual firms that don’t have dedicated offices.

Edwards said the co-founders are also committed to working collaboratively and as a true partnership in which the partners know each other well and back each other up on work.

Another difference between EM3 and virtual firms is its compensation plan, Edwards said. It is similar to virtual firms, he said, except that each partner has committed to contribute a specific amount each year for overhead. Once they reach their individual allocation, the rest of the income they bring in is theirs.

“Our goal is to keep our overhead costs low so we can focus on client service, obviously keeping our partners happy with our compensation,” he said.

The firm does not have associates but will use contract attorneys as needed. Also, Mago said, Jeff Crouch, who also formerly worked at Culhane Meadows, recently joined the firm on an of counsel basis in Dallas. Crouch could not be reached for immediate comment.

The firm’s practice areas include banking and finance, corporate, intellectual property, life settlements, litigation, M&A, real estate, securities and technology transactions. Mago and Edwards did not immediately provide a list of the firm’s clients.

Grant Walsh, a founder and managing partner of Culhane Meadows, said his firm wishes the departed partners “the best” in their new endeavors.

“Lawyers come to Culhane Meadows because they get a better financial deal and unparalleled opportunity to create a real work/life balance compared to traditional Big Law,” Walsh said in a statement. “We realize our innovative platform is not for everyone and that some lawyers choose to return to more traditional structure.”

Culhane Meadows, founded in 2013 in Dallas, was recently certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise and it is now the largest national women-owned firm in the United States, Walsh said.


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