Gordon & Rees: National Firm Expanding in Raleigh

Gordon & Rees
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“We have incredible bench strength and teamwork,” said Tom Packer, managing partner of the Raleigh office of Gordon and Rees.

Packer launched the Raleigh office for the national firm of Gordon & Rees two years ago and it has established its presence with solid, controlled growth. Gordon & Rees was founded in 1974 and now has more than 650 lawyers in 35 offices in 22 states and Washington, D.C.

“We are unique because our office here can tap the resources of a national practice with incredible knowledge and experience from any of our offices around the country. It allows us to take a team approach to meeting our clients’ needs,” said Packer.

“We opened our Raleigh office for three primary reasons, to expand our abilities to serve our client needs in the Southeast, to be able to represent the dozens of North Carolina companies we already are representing around the country and to associate ourselves with some of the most talented attorneys in the state,” said Packer who specializes in product and professional liability, as well as serving as general counsel to the firm.

“The Triangle area is booming with businesses moving here, local companies expanding, local companies engaging in mergers and acquisitions and emerging new companies,” said Packer.

The firm handles commercial litigation, transaction and antitrust compliance matters for the health care, life sciences, agri-chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, clean-energy, technology and construction industries which are prevalent in the region. The firm also handles general civil litigation, with one of the office’s original attorneys, Nick Wilson, handling matters across the state.

Gordon & Rees is among the two fastest growing AmLaw 200 firms in the United States and the 83rd largest law firm in the nation according to National Law Journal’s 2015 survey. The firm also is the 21st most diverse, according to The American Lawyer’s Diversity Scorecard, and is among the 100 best firms for women attorneys according to Law360.


The firm’s Raleigh office is tactically expanding to play a bigger role in the burgeoning regional business community. “We are attracting experienced regional attorneys in practice areas that meet the needs of our target client base of growth companies and health care providers. For attorneys positioned to take advantage of our national platform and who want to handle challenging, sophisticated matters, our firm offers a unique opportunity. We are always on the lookout for topnotch legal talent,” said Packer.

Recent additions to the firm have included health care attorneys Knicole Emanuel, Robert Shaw and DeeDee Murphy, as well as an association with Mark Ishman, a specialist in privacy and data security.

That makes eight attorneys in the Raleigh office who will shortly be moving into the Bank of America building on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.


Knicole Emanuel and her team handle Medicaid and Medicare regulatory compliance issues, allegations of fraud and suspensions of reimbursements.

“Changes in health care legislation are pushing health care providers to rethink corporate structures and partner with other service providers in order to be at the forefront of provider-led health care reform. We are in an excellent position to help our clients, old and new, adapt to these changes regardless of the state in which the client does business,” said Emanuel.

“What attracted us to the firm was its strong, established national health care practice group. While we have four health care attorneys in the Raleigh office, it allows us to draw upon the knowledge and experience of 55 health care lawyers in our offices nationwide. This is so important because we have clients in an increasing number of states,” said Emanuel.

Emanuel’s Medicare and Medicaid legal blog for health care providers (https://medicaidlawnc.wordpress.com) has a national following with thousands of followers.


“I enjoy the autonomy the Raleigh office has even though we are part of a large firm,” said Robin Vinson who spent 31 years at Smith Anderson, before joining the firm earlier this year. “Our firm is special in that it brings to the Triangle the strength and expertise of a 650-plus lawyer firm with a national presence while maintaining local flexibility. This is an opportunity for me to have a national practice but at the same time feel the energy and the synergies of mentoring and growing an office with younger attorneys,” he added. Vinson’s practice includes commercial litigation, health care transactions and antitrust compliance.

“Clients appreciate that they do not have to incur the time and expense of going outside the firm to consult with other legal specialists. We can do it all in-house. For example, we can provide services for our clients of all sizes who have needs on complex issues and projects in North Carolina by having our Raleigh attorneys teaming up with lawyers from our other offices who have specific expertise so we can handle projects seamlessly.”

“Our goal is to have long-term client relationships based on our immediate responsiveness, our record of results and our business-oriented legal strategies,” said Packer. “Even though we are a national firm, we can work with smaller companies because we tend to have more rate flexibility than other firms our size. Like our clients, we operate in an increasingly lean and efficient environment so we can provide our services at reasonable rates.

“With each stage of growth, young companies often have to upgrade to a bigger law firm with more heft,” said Vinson. “Ultimately they may need a firm with a national presence and experience in taking a company public, prepping it to be acquired, or defending it in various types of litigation. The transition from firm to firm can be bumpy, time-consuming, costly and challenging because the client has to establish new personal relationships at each firm. With us, clients can have all their needs met with one firm.”

Bob Friedman

Robert "Bob" Friedman is the publisher of Attorney at Law Magazine North Carolina Triangle. He contributes articles and interviews to each issue.

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