Atlanta-based Smith, Gambrell & Russell has doubled its New York office by merging with 19-lawyer Hartman & Craven. The 175-attorney firm now includes 37 attorneys in New York. Hartman & Craven focused on real estate, finance, corporate work, trusts and estates and litigation. Smith Gambrell's New York office had some overlapping practices, but didn't have the real estate, finance and corporate components, said Stephen Forte, managing partner and executive committee chairman of Smith Gambrell. "We wanted all of the talents and assets. We wanted the entire group. So doing the merger made sense," he said. He declined to disclose the firm's combined New York revenue, but said Hartman & Craven was a debt-free firm and will make "a significant contribution" to the combined operation.
Smith Gambrell came to New York about four years ago when, attracted to the prospect of growing its aviation and international practices, it absorbed the six-lawyer litigation boutique Bainton McCarthy. Talks between Smith Gambrell and Hartman & Craven started early this year. Forte said he wouldn't rule out more growth in New York. "We've seen opportunities in the New York market and I would expect there to some organic growth" as a result of the merger, he said.
Hartman & Craven attorneys will relocate from their Madison Avenue office to Smith Gambrell's location at 250 Park Ave. Through 2013, the Hartman & Craven attorneys will practice as the Hartman & Craven Law Group of Smith, Gambrell & Russell. Smith Gambrell will continue to be the firm's name. Steve O'Connell, co-managing partner of Hartman & Craven, will be co-managing partner of the combined New York office, leading it with Smith Gambrell partner Peter Barlow.