Friday Firm Largest, Shake-up in Next 4; Kutak Rock Makes Big Gains

by John Henry  on Monday, Jun. 6, 2005 12:00 am  

The Largest Law Firms

Click here for the list of state's largest law firms. (List requires Adobe Acrobat viewer. Click here for a free copy.)

Friday Eldredge & Clark LLP of Little Rock remains the largest law firm in the state with 86 lawyers, but there's been a sizeable shuffling below.

On last year's list there was a tie for second, with Little Rock law firms Wright Lindsey & Jennings LLP and Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC both reporting 63 lawyers.

This year, the Mitchell Williams firm stands alone with 67 lawyers, while Wright Lindsey & Jennings falls to third place with 58 lawyers.

The Mitchell Williams law firm jumped ahead of perennial second-place Wright Lindsey & Jennings the old-fashioned way -- by hiring lawyers away from them.

Sam Jones and Kathy Graves, formerly of Wright Lindsey & Jennings, joined the Mitchell Williams firm at the beginning of this year, following Doug Buford and Walter May, who left Wright Lindsey for Mitchell Williams in August.

Another switch in the standings is Wilson & Associates PLLC of Little Rock, the firm that has found its niche in representing the real estate and mortgage banking industries. It jumped to No. 4 with 36 lawyers, up from 32 last year. Little Rock's Rose Law Firm PA fell to No. 5 despite maintaining the same number of lawyers -- 33 -- as it had last year.

Making the biggest leap in size was Kutak Rock LLP of Little Rock. Last year it was ranked 10th in the state with 20 lawyers. It's No. 6 this year with 28.

Kutak Rock hired six lawyers at its Little Rock and Fayetteville offices in March alone.

Joining the Little Rock office were J. Phillip Malcom, David L. Williams, W.A. McCormick and Emily A. Lackey-Neal, who will open a litigation practice, a longtime goal of the firm. Malcom, who had been with Friday Eldredge & Clark, has more than 29 years of experience in litigation. Williams came from the Rose Law Firm and has more than 26 years of experience in litigation.

The Fayetteville office hired University of Arkansas at Fayetteville graduates Terry W. Pool and W. Douglas Martin to boost that office's corporate and real estate transactions and litigation practices.

Starting Big

In January, Ronald A. Hope, David M. Fuqua and Phil Campbell formed a new law firm, Hope Fuqua & Campbell P.A. of Little Rock.

The new firm has nine lawyers and a new office at 425 W. Capitol Ave., Suite 400, in the Metropolitan Tower.

William H. Trice III, Jason D. Files, Kevin M. O'Dwyer and Sammy S. High joined Hope from the Howell Trice Hope & Files firm that was at 211 Spring St.

Campbell and Fuqua, both previously with Hilburn Calhoon Harper Pruniski & Calhoun Ltd. of North Little Rock, were joined by Abbie D. Decker and Patrick L. Spivey, also from that firm.

The Hilburn firm reported 22 lawyers last year and only 19 this year.

Hope Fuqua & Campbell will focus on business and commercial law, employment law, real estate law, probate law, insurance law, family law, criminal defense, administrative law and litigation.

Bar Meeting

The 107th annual Arkansas Bar Association meeting begins Wednesday and continues through Saturday at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs.

The events kick off with the President's Reception that honors Fred S. Ursery, president of the Arkansas Bar Association and partner in the Friday Eldredge & Clark firm; Sherry Bartley, president of the Arkansas Bar Foundation and member of the Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard firm; and Judge Roger Logan, president of the Arkansas Judicial Council.

Each day offers numerous workshops and seminars for which lawyers can gain continuing legal education credits.

Wednesday sessions range from grandparents' rights in custody cases to risk management for attorneys.

On Thursday morning there's an entire session devoted to the late William O. Douglas, the controversial Supreme Court justice. It includes a two-hour performance by character actor Graham Thatcher in "Impeach Justice Douglas" followed by a panel discussion on "What Would Justice Douglas Do?"?

Also on Thursday are sessions on confidentiality agreements and tax increment financing. One intriguing session on ethics is called "Is Atticus Finch Your Hero -- If Not, Why Not?"

A mock trial, "A Tale of Two Juries," takes place on Friday, along with sessions on the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act.

Also on Friday is the swearing in of the new president of the bar association, A. Glenn Vasser, a member of the McKenzie McRae Vasser & Barber firm of Prescott.

The House of Delegates will meet Saturday morning to conduct its annual business.



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