Smith Gambrell Russell and Freeborn & Peters to Combine, Creating Global AmLaw 150 Firm

Jason Stearns

TAMPA, FL—Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP and Freeborn & Peters LLP announced today that their respective partnerships have unanimously approved a combination of the two law firms. The firms – with a shared strategic vision and complementary high-value, top-tier markets and practice areas – will operate under the Smith Gambrell Russell name, effective March 1. As part of the combination, the firm also names new leadership in its Tampa office, with Jason P. Stearns as the new office managing partner.

With strong transactional and litigation platforms, the combination will result in a global firm of nearly 400 attorneys in 14 domestic and global offices, and more than $260 million in gross annual revenues. Based on those numbers, the combined firm would have ranked approximately 132 on the 2022 Am Law 200 and 116 on the NLJ 500.

Freeborn and SGR are similarly aligned geographically. Both firms concentrate their lawyers in high value, top-tier markets, which include overlapping strategic offices in Chicago and New York. In Florida, the combined firm will add Tampa to its existing footprint of Jacksonville and Miami and have a combined total of more than 60 attorneys across the state.

Both firms also achieve international growth objectives through this combination, with SGR’s existing London and Munich offices providing a platform for Freeborn to better service existing and future international clients, and SGR complementing its strong global corporate practice with Freeborn’s international litigation capabilities. The footprint of the new firm lays the foundation for future growth in all its existing key markets, domestically and internationally.

The combination also aligns both firms’ practice area strengths. SGR’s existing branded national and global practices, particularly corporate and other transactional disciplines, are areas that Freeborn has been seeking to grow. Freeborn’s deep litigation bench augments those existing litigation capabilities that SGR added in Chicago in 2022 through its combination with litigation boutique Figliulo & Silverman P.C. In addition, SGR’s domestic and global aviation finance, international transactional, and intellectual property practices will be complemented by Freeborn’s acclaimed international arbitration, bankruptcy, and insurance and reinsurance practices.

The firms will share leadership responsibilities for the combined SGR, with a mix of SGR and Freeborn partners serving on the executive and compensation committees and in office and practice management. McCullough will be a member of the executive committee, and Forte will remain the firm’s managing partner and chair of the executive committee.

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