Another small law firm in Pennsylvania has become part of a wave of consolidation in the industry, combining with midsize shop Barley Snyder.
Hanover’s Guthrie, Nonemaker, Yingst & Hart was absorbed by central Pennsylvania-based Barley Snyder on Wednesday. The combination adds two lawyers, Keith Nonemaker and Matthew Guthrie, and five other professionals to Barley Snyder’s Hanover location.
Nonemaker and Guthrie chose to join up with a larger firm after their four-lawyer team became a two-lawyer team over the span of less than two years. Partner D.J. Hart died unexpectedly in 2017, and partner James Yingst chose to retire.
“We had a diminished ability to serve our client base with just two attorneys,” Nonemaker said. “We just couldn’t handle the volume of business that was coming in.”
He said their practice includes estate planning, real estate work and some corporate work on behalf of small corporations and limited liability companies. Guthrie also does some family law, he added.
Their practice consists of “typical things that a small-town firm would do,” Nonemaker said. But “I don’t think there’s any question that the small-town firm is kind of going by the wayside.”
“This is a firm that’s actually older than ours, very well respected in the Hanover market, and we’re growing a lot in Hanover,” Jeff Lobach, managing partner of Barley Snyder, said.
The Hanover office will now consist of six lawyers who are there full-time, he said, and some of the firm’s York-based lawyers spend time in Hanover as well. Nonemaker and Guthrie will move into the firm’s Hanover office, after it is renovated to create more room, Lobach said.
Nonemaker said he has known the Hanover partners at Barley Snyder for his entire legal career. “It’s a small town, you do a lot of business with the other firms that are here,” he said.
His own retirement was also in mind when choosing to combine with another firm, he noted.
“It’s just a wonderful opportunity to know my clients will still have a firm to turn to,” he said.
Lobach said Barley Snyder plans to continue its growth in central Pennsylvania, including the areas where it already has offices. In the last five years, the firm has added about 40 lawyers, he said, including growth in Gettysburg and Harrisburg last year. In 2018, the firm added 18 lawyers, and 39 total people including both lawyers and staff, Lobach said.
Most recently, the firm brought on York County lawyer Larry Heim last month, to strengthen its litigation and hospitality industry groups. And the firm is expecting to announce another Harrisburg addition next week, Lobach said.
“There are not a lot of firms with our value proposition and the depth and breadth of our practice in central Pennsylvania,” he said.