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Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC


Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC - Memphis
  • 6060 Poplar Ave.,
  • Suite 440, Memphis
  • Memphis
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 38119
  • Tel:+1 901 526 2000
  • Fax:+1 901 577 2303
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Web:Visit website
  • Chairman & CEO: Ben C Adams, Jr
  • COO: Jerry Stauffer
  • Shareholders: 300 
  • Other lawyers: 394 (attorneys and public policy advisors)

Firm Overview:
For more than 120 years, Baker Donelson has built a reputation for achieving results for clients on a wide range of legal matters. Clients know it’s not just what the firm does, but how they do it that makes the difference. The firm commits to a deep understanding of a client’s business, anticipating clients’ needs and assisting in their decision making processes. Because Baker Donelson offers consistent, knowledgeable guidance based on specific goals and objectives, clients view the firm as a valued business partner. This allows them to focus on the growth and success of their business, confident their legal issues will be handled by an attentive, responsive team.

Main Areas of Practice:
The 66th largest law firm in the US, Baker Donelson, is a full-service firm that gives clients access to a team of more than 650 attorneys and public policy advisors representing more than 30 practice areas, all seamlessly connected across 19 offices to serve virtually any legal need.
■Admiralty & Maritime
■ADR – Center for Dispute Resolution
■Bankruptcy and Commercial Restructuring
■Broker-Dealer/Registered Investment Adviser
■Business Technology
■Commercial Real Estate Recovery Team
■Corporate Compliance, Ethics and Crisis Management
■Disaster Recovery and Government Services
■Economic Development
■Emerging Companies
■Eminent Domain
■Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
■Estate Planning/Probate
■Exempt Organizations and Nonprofits
■Financial Institutions
■Global Business
■Government Contracts
■Health Law
■Hospitality, Franchising and Distribution
■Insurance Regulatory
■Intellectual Property
■Labor and Employment
■Mergers and Acquisitions
■National Security and Defense
■Oil and Gas
■Pro Bono
■Product Liability and Mass Tort
■Public Finance
■Public Policy - Federal and State
■Real Estate
■Residential Mortgage Lending and Servicing
■Securities and Corporate Governance
■White Collar Crime and Government Investigations


  • Wells Fargo Tower,
  • 420 20th Street North,
  • Suite 1400,
  • Birmingham,
  • Alabama
  • USA
  • AL 35203
  • Tel +1 205 328 0480
  • Fax +1 205 322 8007
  • Email : kandress@bakerdonelson.com
  • 614 South Hull Street, ,
  • Montgomery,
  • Alabama
  • USA
  • AL 36104
  • Tel +1 334 262 2000
  • Fax +1 334 263 0960
  • Monarch Plaza ,
  • Suite 1600,
  • 3414 Peachtree Road NE,
  • Atlanta,
  • Georgia
  • USA
  • GA 30326
  • Tel +1 404 577 6000
  • Fax +1 404 221 6501
  • Email : lklein@bakerdonelson.com
  • Gateway Plaza,
  • Suite 201,
  • 300 Mulberry Street,
  • Macon,
  • Georgia
  • USA
  • GA 31201
  • Tel +1 478 750 0777
  • Fax +1 478 750 1777
  • 201 St Charles Avenue,
  • Suite 3600,
  • New Orleans,
  • Louisiana
  • USA
  • LA 70170
  • Tel +1 504 566 5200
  • Fax +1 504 636 4000
  • Email : rcheatwood@bakerdonelson.com
  • 3 Sanctuary Boulevard,
  • Suite 201,
  • Mandeville,
  • Louisiana
  • USA
  • LA 70471
  • Tel +1 985 819 8400
  • Fax +1 985 819 8484
  • Email : rcheatwood@bakerdonelson.com
  • 450 Laurel Street,
  • Chase Tower North,
  • 20th Floor,
  • Baton Rouge,
  • Louisiana
  • USA
  • LA 70801
  • Tel +1 225 381 7000
  • Fax +1 225 343 3612
  • Email : rcheatwood@bakerdonelson.com
  • 4268 I-55 North, Meadowbrook,
  • Office Park,
  • Jackson,
  • Mississippi
  • USA
  • MS 39211
  • Tel +1 601 351 2400
  • Fax +1 601 351 2424
  • Email : wpainter@bakerdonelson.com
  • 633 Chestnut Street,
  • 1800 Republic Centre,
  • Chattanooga,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37450
  • Tel +1 423 756 2010
  • Fax +1 423 756 3447
  • Email : rgray@bakerdonelson.com
  • One Courthouse Square,,
  • Huntsville,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37756
  • Tel +1 423 663 9148
  • Fax +1 423 663 2076
  • 100 Med Tech Parkway,
  • Suite 200,
  • Johnson City,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37604
  • Tel +1 423 928 0181
  • Fax +1 423 928 5694
  • Email : strent@bakerdonelson.com
  • 265 Brookview Centre Way,
  • Suite 600,
  • Knoxville,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37919
  • Tel +1 865 549 7000
  • Fax +1 865 525 8569
  • Email : cschmid@bakerdonelson.com
  • 6060 Poplar Avenue,
  • Suite 440,
  • Memphis,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 38119
  • Tel +1 901 579 3100
  • Fax +1 901 577 2303
  • 211 Commerce Street,
  • Suite 800,
  • Nashville,
  • Tennessee
  • USA
  • TN 37201
  • Tel +1 615 726 5600
  • Fax +1 615 726 0464
  • Email : scarey@bakerdonelson.com
  • 1301 McKinney Avenue,
  • Suite 3700,
  • Houston,
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 77010
  • Tel +1 713 650 9700
  • Fax +1 713 650 9701
  • Email : bchambers@bakerdonelson.com
  • 901 K. Street N.W.,
  • Suite 900,
  • Washington, DC,
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20001
  • Tel +1 202 508 3400
  • Fax +1 202 508 3402
  • Email : scampbell@bakerdonelson.com

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Alabama

What the team is known for Representing financial institutions as well as CMBS special servicers in the restructuring and modification of defaulted loans. The firm is especially active in the healthcare and real estate sectors.  

Notable practitioners  

Timothy Lupinacci is well known for handling insolvency matters in the healthcare industry for a variety of clients. "I feel very comfortable having him on a deal and he is very responsive," noted one commentator.

Eric Pruitt primarily represents financial institutions and CMBS special servicers. One source said: "His negotiation skills were excellent, and his understanding and grasp of the client's situation was very good."

Patton Hahn frequently represents creditors and receives good feedback across the board, with one source saying: "He is informed, knowledgeable and works to find solutions."

Corporate/Commercial - Alabama

What the team is known for A regional firm with offices in Birmingham and Montgomery that assist local companies with an array of issues. Provides M&A, regulatory and business support for clients, most notably in the real estate, transportation and healthcare sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are very responsive, with a broad base of knowledge. They are accessible, easy to work with and a good resource."

"I am very pleased to have Baker Donelson on our side." 

Notable practitioners  

B G Minisman has a wide-ranging practice which includes advising clients on securities matters, mergers and acquisitions, and regulatory compliance. 

D J Simonetti has extensive experience acting in the healthcare sector and is described by one client as "very accessible, levelheaded and knowledgeable, with good technical skills."

Labor & Employment - Alabama

What the team is known for Handles a wide range of employment matters, including wage and hour, discrimination, FLSA and EEOC cases. Also provides compliance and regulatory advisory services to clients in the healthcare, educational and retail sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"They are a good size with good resources and talented attorneys." 

Notable practitioners 

William Somerville has a strong litigation practice and is especially sought after by healthcare industry clients. One source described him as "a smart lawyer and a good writer."

Litigation - Alabama

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Real Estate - Alabama

What the team is known for Acting for developers and investors on multifamily, retail, industrial and medical facilities developments. Advises an array of clients on regulatory matters and site acquisition. The commodities and telecommunications sectors have also furnished the team with significant real estate work of late.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"One of the top advisers." 

Notable practitioners 

Denise Killebrew is well regarded for her leasing expertise, especially with respect to shopping centers, and she frequently acts for developers. One source said: "She is able to manage very complex deals, has a nice demeanor, is organized and pleasant to deal with."

William Sylvester is described by one peer as a "fantastic lawyer" and regarded by many others as a "good person to work with." He primarily acts for developers and investors on commercial and residential real estate projects.

Murphy McMillan has substantial experience working with private equity companies in acquiring distressed commercial property and real estate loans. One source said: "His background in real estate development allows him to place himself in the client's position and counsel them accordingly."

Chervis Isom has a wealth of experience handling developer-side mandates and is esteemed among commentators.

Significant clients Bayer Properties, Medical Properties Trust.

Healthcare - District of Columbia

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Antitrust - Florida

What the team is known for Active in counseling and distribution matters for a host of local and national clients. Also called upon to handle antitrust disputes and cases resulting from government investigations.

Notable practitioners  

Hal Litchford is described as a "very strong lawyer" whose commercial litigation practice features a good deal of antitrust work. He has 35 years' experience in the area.

Healthcare - Georgia

What the team is known for Acts on a range of healthcare matters for health systems and physicians' groups, including physician integrations with health systems. Particular specialty in HIPAA issues. The Atlanta team can also draw on resources from its Nashville and DC offices.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"A well-regarded healthcare firm." 

Notable practitioners  

Thomas William Baker continues to be much sought after for his transactional expertise and also maintains a fine track record in fraud and abuse and Medicare reimbursement matters.

Construction - Louisiana

What the team is known for Strong presence in the southeastern United States with activity in sophisticated multidistrict construction disputes. Involved in various high-value contract negotiations and project transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"A large presence in this type of work." 

Work highlights Represented the Tiger Athletic Foundation in Louisiana State University's $80 million stadium expansion. 

Notable practitioners  

Chairman of the firm's construction group Danny Shaw represented Louisiana State University in a high-profile construction project. He is known among commentators as a "premium lawyer."

Mark Mercante has represented a wealth of clients in construction matters, including developers and design professionals. He has experience in both transactions and dispute resolution. 

David Kurtz is a construction litigator who has recently been involved in a series of matters arising from Hurricane Katrina. He also handles contract disputes and water intrusion.  

Significant clients Chicago Bridge & Iron, Tulane University, CH2M HILL, PLH Group.

Corporate/M&A - Louisiana

What the team is known for Three offices across the state working closely together to ensure clients receive high levels of service. Expertise lies in bank mergers, and the firm is involved in considerable cross-border activity. Recent handling of numerous large-scale international transactions and bond issue work.

Notable practitioners  

Department head William Norton is particularly known for his tax-related work. He has extensive experience in the field and among his most recent highlights are a number of high-value acquisitions, some of which involve international companies. 

David Rieveschl specializes in securities law and is considered an "impressive fellow who is capable in the area" of corporate law. He often represents organizations belonging to the technology or renewable energy sectors.

Significant clients ULO Systems, Christwood Retirement Community, Entergy, CSX Corporation, Simms Hardin Construction.

Energy & Natural Resources - Louisiana

What the team is known for Represents a range of entities such as major oil and gas companies, well operators and transportation companies. Offers a variety of services including counsel, litigation and regulatory compliance expertise as part of an extensive regional network.

Notable practitioners  

Kenneth Klemm focuses his practice on the defense of clients in oil and gas and energy disputes. His clients range from individuals to major energy providers. He has broad litigation expertise which also takes in commercial cases and white-collar criminal defense work. 

Gaming & Licensing - Louisiana

What the team is known for Market leaders handling a broad array of major transactional and regulatory matters for high-profile clients throughout the state. Peers note the firm's stellar reputation, impressive breadth of practice and enviable standing within the industry.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're multispecialty and multijurisdictional."  

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Paul West is recognized as a major force in the market, with peers saying: "He probably has the best reputation in the state for his gaming practice." He is commended for his adept handling of regulatory and transactional work and his impressive depth of knowledge in the sector.

Healthcare - Louisiana

What the team is known for Specialized healthcare team with a broad knowledge of the sector and all the pertinent regulations and laws of the field. Able to deal with complex work such as licensing and credentialing matters, and acts for a number of large organizations in healthcare regulatory work and various transactional issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're an outstanding firm; very professional, very responsive, easy to work with, very knowledgeable in the technical areas of healthcare. They have superior talent."

Work highlights Represented Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in the transfer of public programs in a public/private collaboration worth in excess of $140 million.

Notable practitioners  

Donna Fraiche heads the team and is heavily involved in all aspects of healthcare law. Her work ranges from public policy matters to litigation. Clients say that "she has high energy and the ability to think through complex issues. She is extremely smart and a very hard worker." She is also highly regarded by peers for the depth of her experience.

Significant clients Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health Care, CHRISTUS Health, People's Health Network, MultiPlan, Spine Institute of Louisiana.

Labor & Employment - Louisiana

What the team is known for Clear presence throughout the state, with offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Mandeville. A noted roster of labor and employment specialists, an impressive litigation practice and an established track record in large-scale collective actions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"I'd say we're very happy with their work. They're very good about looking after their clients' needs, and they're good for client development. Even when we don't have cases with them one of their attorneys will call and ask if there's anything we need on a non-billable basis." 

Notable practitioners  

Phyllis Cancienne is noted for her representation of employers in a variety of sectors, including construction and healthcare, in statewide and nationwide matters. Peers recognize her broad experience, which includes major class actions and EEOC work.

Clients praise Steven Griffith as "extremely well prepared and always knowledgeable. He understands that the people who know the clients' businesses best are the clients." He is known in particular for his expertise in FLSA work, regularly representing clients in class actions nationwide.

Amelia Koch is well recognized for her handling of EEOC and FLSA claims, with an impressive client roster covering industries such as manufacturing and energy. Known in particular for her litigation capabilities, her practice is bolstered by notable experience in antitrust work.

Significant clients Amedisys, Belfor USA Group, Entergy Services, Huntington Ingalls, The Shaw Group.

Litigation - Louisiana

What the team is known for Market leaders in general commercial litigation with a wealth of specialist expertise handling litigation across a variety of sectors, including financial services and energy. Impressive roster of high-profile clients throughout the state and nationwide, and an established reputation as a powerhouse in the Southeast.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're dedicated to getting the job done and they have your best interests at heart; they don't overbill you or lawyer-up on everything. They advise you on your business and help you do your legal work." 

Work highlights Acted in an $18 million suit brought against the firm's client and actor Kevin Costner by Stephen Baldwin and Spyridon Contogouris, relating to the purchase of a company formed to use centrifuge technology to assist in cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The suit alleged violations of federal securities laws, state law fraud and international misrepresentation.

Represented Christus Health Central Louisiana in a $6 million appeal against a prior verdict, concerning a loss of earnings claim brought by a physician arising from an allegedly improper peer review.

Notable practitioners  

Nancy Degan has enviable experience across a wide range of litigation, including securities fraud and oil and gas legacy suits. Peers praise her practical and adept handling of complex matters and commitment to her clients' interests.

Described as "a fierce antagonist who always serves his clients aggressively and well," head of department Roy Cheatwood is widely regarded as one of the most effective litigators both in the state and throughout the wider region, with impressive expertise handling major litigation in the energy, healthcare and financial sectors.

Kent Lambert is highly regarded for his expertise in a range of complex areas, including insurance litigation and financial services work, bolstered by a noted appellate practice.

Significant clients Wells Fargo.

Corporate/Commercial - Mississippi

What the team is known for Highly regarded eight-partner team with notable strength in handling corporate and regulatory matters for the healthcare industry. Also building a significant reputation in the gaming sphere.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Extremely knowledgeable in their field of expertise, they meet deadlines and have great communication skills."

Work highlights Acted for the State of Mississippi on restructuring its variable rate debt, worth over $280 million.

Advised Jackson County on the financing of a correctional facility, which had proved difficult for more than two years. The team utilized a rarely used lease-purchase law to make the financing cost-effective.

Notable practitioners  

Dan McDaniel is one of the state's leading gaming experts. He is praised by clients for his relationships with the regulators, his understanding of the agencies involved, and his pragmatic advice. He chairs the firm's gaming team.

William Painter is "very smart and very capable of doing complex planning and transactions," according to peers. He has experience in a range of corporate matters, and is also well regarded for his advice to clients in the healthcare industry.

Steve Edds earns considerable praise from peers and clients in the municipal finance sphere. One client enthused: "He's innovative. Some attorneys say 'you can't do that' but he says 'you can't do it that way, but let's think how we can get where we want to go'."

Sue Fairbank makes her debut in the rankings this year, and works closely with Steve Edds on the firm's public finance mandates. Clients value highly the contribution she makes to transactions, highlighting her work ethic, responsiveness and technical abilities.

William Mendenhall is another well-respected member of the team. His broad practice includes business transactions, economic development projects, commercial real estate and general corporate matters.

Significant clients Viking Range.

Environment - Mississippi

What the team is known for Established expertise in related white-collar criminal defense work. Also busy in the regulatory compliance and enforcement space.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They were on top of the issue from the beginning and walked us through the process to its completion."

Work highlights Advised Zachry Holdings on the purchase of a metal fabrication plant, including reviewing Phase I and Phase II reports, due diligence and advice on environmental contractual clauses. Continues to advise on permitting and compliance post-acquisition.

Handling a comprehensive environmental audit for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Michael Dawkins leads many of the team's most significant mandates, bringing substantial experience in areas including white-collar crime and regulatory defense work. He is also adept in transactional work, and recently advised Zachry Holdings on the various environmental issues created by its acquisition of a metal fabrication factory. Clients praise his effective communication and negotiation skills.

Sources are quick to highlight Gretchen Zmitrovich's background as an engineer at the MDEQ. One client explained: "She understands the environmental regulations and what solutions are available for many of these issues. She understands how the MDEQ works and how they assess projects. She's very effective at working with the DEQ in coming to swift conclusions." 

Significant clients Ocwen Loan Servicing, DAK Americas, Ashland.

Labor & Employment - Mississippi

What the team is known for Busy practice in defending employers facing allegations of discrimination, including before the EEOC, in court, or using alternative dispute resolution. Able to call on expertise of colleagues across a full range of practice areas from around the Southeast.

Work highlights Defended Huntington Ingalls in discrimination litigation in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and in class action before the EEOC.

Notable practitioners  

Market commentators praise Brooks Eason's skill in employment litigation. He specializes in defending employers against claims involving discrimination or harassment, and has recently led the team on its representation of Huntington Ingalls in discrimination litigation in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and before the EEOC. 

Randall Patterson is praised by sources for his knowledge of the area and practical advice. He too is active in advising companies on discrimination and wrongful termination disputes, with a number of cases before the EEOC.

Significant clients Entergy Services, Staple Cotton Cooperative Association, Dollar General Corporation.

Litigation - Mississippi

What the team is known for Maintains an excellent reputation for product liability and class action work, especially for clients in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries. Also sought by financial institutions and clients in healthcare.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their people were top-notch, first class. They produce excellent quality work and we got some great representation."

"Their attorneys are very talented in their areas of focus and the federal law."

Work highlights Acted for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company on bankruptcy litigation in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals following a major defalcation by a former title insurance agent. The case was worth over $6 million and was the first in the Fifth Circuit to deal with the new Bullock standard of proof since the US Supreme Court's decision.

Represented Wells Fargo Bank in the successful dismissal of a putative class action concerning flood policies in the company's mortgages. The claim would have been worth more than $1 million.

Notable practitioners  

Bill Jones is described by peers as "a superb lawyer" and continues to be well known for his product liability work. He is also an experienced insurance defense lawyer.

Veteran litigator Scott Welch has been practicing for almost 50 years, and has substantial experience in gaming litigation, personal injury and commercial litigation, among other areas. Clients say he is "really outstanding," and praise his responsiveness, experience and the tactical direction he imposes on cases.

Clients appreciate that Bill Reed takes the time to "understand our company, culture and risk appetite. He's very good at communicating in a timely manner." His strengths lie in financial litigation, class actions, insurance coverage disputes and general commercial litigation.

Barry Ford is well regarded for his product liability expertise, especially in relation to the automotive industry. He also handles general commercial litigation. He previously served for over ten years as a state circuit trial judge. 

Carter Thompson is an expert in pharmaceutical and medical device product liability defense. One client enthused that he "is able to achieve success because he is respected and trusted by not only his clients, but also judges, co-counsel, and even opposing counsel," before adding: "Carter is the 'go-to' person you want in your corner on tough, bet-the-company litigation." 

Sheryl Bey continues to handle a range of commercial and business-related litigation, with notable mandates from financial institutions. She led the team's successful work for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in bankruptcy litigation worth more than $6 million.

Significant clients Chevron-Texaco, American Modern Insurance Group, ExxonMobil, Ford, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.

Real Estate - Mississippi

What the team is known for Broad practice working on transactions and development across a range of areas while offering significant expertise in industrial, gaming and agricultural real estate and multifamily housing. Strong track record in disaster recovery work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their technical knowledge is outstanding, but they also have commercial and common sense."

"They're terrific: I've never dealt with a firm that has been so responsive."

Notable practitioners  

Head of department William Mendenhall's diverse practice includes acquisition and development matters and real estate loans for clients in a range of sectors. Sources report that he is easy to work with and effective at managing real estate transactions.

David Rueff garners considerable praise from his clients, who say that "his work is marked by intelligence, creativity, extraordinary versatility and diligence." His practice encompasses commercial real estate development, lending and disaster recovery matters.

Healthcare - Nationwide

Basic facts about the department
Key offices include Atlanta, Houston, Memphis, Nashville, Orlando and Washington, DC.

What the team is known for Dedicated to advising a wealth of healthcare clients such as hospitals, academic medical centers and providers of long-term care. Deep knowledge in a wide range of transactional and regulatory matters, including antitrust, fraud and abuse, government investigations, reimbursement and HIPAA-related issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are thorough, quick to respond and attentive." 

Work highlights Acted for seven separate Louisiana-based health systems in the organization of their collaborative endeavor arrangements.

Notable practitioners  

Phil McSween and Richard Cowart are the key healthcare contacts at the firm.

Significant clients Baptist Memorial Health Care, Huntsville Hospital, Physician Resource Management, CHRISTUS Health, Healthcare Realty Trust.

Banking & Finance - Tennessee

What the team is known for Expert advisers on banking regulations and compliance issues as well as securities offerings. Trusted legal representatives of multiple community banks and fund clients. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They represent their clients very vigorously and the team as a whole is very knowledgeable."

"Their client service is exemplary; they get back to you and are ready to act on any issue."

Work highlights Represented First Tennessee Bank in its acquisition of Mountain National Bank's assets from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Notable practitioners 

Steven Eisen is identified by sources as an attorney who is "accessible, timely and always well prepared." He is highly commended for his regulatory expertise and representation of banks in relation to government compliance matters. 

Jackie Prester represented American Savings Bank regarding the establishment of a new credit card program with First National Bank of Omaha. Clients point to her "incredible knowledge of banking laws and SEC regulations," as well as her offering "practical answers to 'business' issues and problems."

Significant clients First Tennessee Bank, Independent Bank.

Corporate/M&A - Tennessee

What the team is known for Experienced advisers to diverse clients from industries such as energy, manufacturing, retail and transportation. Provides comprehensive support to clients through the firm's extensive network of offices across different states.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Very efficient and responsive - they understand our commercial needs as well as our legal needs."

Work highlights Acted for Wunderlich Investment on the private sale of its Series A preferred stock to Altamont Capital Partners for $40 million.

Represented Eco-Energy Global Biofuels, a prominent US distributor of ethanol, in its sale to a sugar trader based in Brazil.

Notable practitioners 

Matthew Heiter is experienced in acting for corporate clients from a range of industry sectors. He has had a busy year advising both domestic and international companies on various M&A transactions.

Significant clients Verso Paper, Buckeye Technologies, Ingram Industries, Intrepid Aviation.

Environment - Tennessee

What the team is known for Deeply involved in water supply rights and regulatory work. Also advises on enforcement and compliance issues. Proficient in handling commercial, industrial and brownfield transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're very client-focused. I really value the fact that I can be completely honest with them and them with me."

"They're efficient with their work and practical, and understand their role as legal counsel as opposed to being drivers of the business deal."

Notable practitioners  

Robert Steele "is very composed and very practical, and can offer concise explanations," enthuse interviewees. He has had a busy year acting for clients with regulatory concerns arising from the acquisition and operation of manufacturing facilities.

Interviewees praise experienced trial attorney Gary Shockley for his adept skills in conducting high-profile environmental litigation. His versatile practice also extends to class actions, antitrust and construction matters.

Significant clients Nestlé Waters North America, Hunter Fan, Velsicol Chemical.

Healthcare - Tennessee

What the team is known for Commended for its expert handling of transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, regularly advising clients such as hospitals and healthcare centers on consolidations. Also houses impressive regulatory and litigation expertise and tackles diverse issues such as fraud and abuse and FDA compliance.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have a good deal of deep expertise because of their size, and so they are a resource that I can go to in a wide variety of legal specialties and subspecialties."

Work highlights Assisted Physician Resource Management in the development of two management programs and a data aggregation and analytics program that will affect more than $450 million of oncology drug purchases.

Notable practitioners  

Thomas Bartrum is commended as an "extremely knowledgeable" regulatory lawyer. His experience extends from compliance matters concerning the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law to handling joint ventures between various healthcare providers. 

Richard Cowart commands an excellent reputation for his provision of strategic advice to both nonprofit and for-profit corporate healthcare clients. He has extensive expertise in healthcare policy, regulatory issues and business concerns.

Ashby Burks has widespread experience relating to the sale, acquisition and joint ventures of hospitals and other healthcare entities. Sources say: "He is a really high-quality healthcare M&A attorney."

Practice chair Philip McSween specializes in M&A and joint ventures, frequently advising healthcare providers across the country. Clients highlight him as being a "very valuable resource," who is "incredibly responsive and very knowledgeable about the industry."

Significant clients Erlanger Health System, UT Medical Center, St. Jude Children's Hospital, Healthcare Realty Trust, Path Group.

Labor & Employment - Tennessee

What the team is known for Broad practice with expertise in compliance issues, representation before government entities, and workplace training programs for managerial clients. Substantial experience in FLSA and wage and hour litigation, involving both collective actions and single plaintiff allegations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are very thorough with regard to investigations. They keep me in the loop, documentation is always available and they are able to negotiate what needs to be done."

"The firm does excellent work and has great depth. Its service is excellent."

Work highlights Defended Peoplemark against a significant class action filed by the EEOC, involving allegations of discrimination against candidates who had previously been convicted of felonies.

Defended Poplar Healthcare against a number of allegations, including several counts of trade secrets misappropriation and tortious interferences.

Notable practitioners  

Commentators describe Kim Vance as a "really good communicator" who "knows the law" and "does a superb job for her clients." She represents management in all forms of employment proceedings and litigation.

Edward Young is well versed in assisting management clients with all aspects of labor relations and employment law. Sources say: "He has a wealth of knowledge, is an excellent negotiator and is extremely personable."

Practice chair Jennifer Keller is lauded by clients as a "phenomenal leader" who is "pleasant to deal with." She is noted for her work in discrimination and workers' compensation cases, in addition to handling FLSA collective actions.

Timothy McConnell's areas of expertise include advising and defending clients at both a federal and state level in discrimination cases. Further to his work in employment law, he maintains a varied litigation practice.

Significant clients Koch Foods, Helena Chemical Company, U.S. Xpress, Guardsmark, Captain D's.

Litigation - Tennessee

What the team is known for Far-reaching expertise spans commercial, securities and IP litigation. Houses notable strength in bankruptcy litigation, regularly representing numerous creditors. Also excels in medical malpractice defense, with considerable experience in professional negligence and product liability cases.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"I am extremely pleased with the service our company receives from Baker Donelson. They are responsive, practical and efficient. They are also quite cost-effective and the quality of legal advice they provide is extremely high." 

"They're all terrific lawyers - they're very thoughtful, and have the confidence to actually go to court and vigorously defend their clients."

Work highlights Acted for First Tennessee Bank as secured lender in a major individual Chapter 11 filing involving a $4.5 million claim.  

Represented HealthSouth in a trial concerning an anoxic brain injury experienced by a 17-year-old boy following the removal of a tracheostomy tube.

Notable practitioners  

Jill Steinberg is commended for her longstanding experience in trying medical malpractice cases. Her additional areas of expertise include product liability, toxic tort and insurance defense.

Leo Bearman is a seasoned litigator with a wealth of experience in IP, antitrust and commercial litigation. He is highly regarded for his corporate representation on a local, regional and national level, and acts as counsel to various city and country government bodies.

Sources say Franklin Childress is "an exceptional practitioner and mentor to many." He is singled out for his notable expertise in bankruptcy cases and loan workouts, and also handles real estate and general commercial litigation.

Buckner Wellford has substantial experience in representing hospitals and physician groups in medical malpractice and regulatory cases. He is also well versed in product liability, employment disputes and fraud claims.

Gary Shockley commands an impressive reputation among peers for his diverse litigation practice, which includes white-collar criminal work and pro bono representation. He is also noted for his expertise in the fields of healthcare and environmental law.

Head of department John Hicks handles a wide variety of complex matters. His practice includes health law litigation, business torts and insurance coverage disputes. Peers describe him as a "smart and effective" lawyer with "good judgment."

Significant clients BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, CSX Transportation, Regents of the University of New Mexico, Guardsmark.

Real Estate - Tennessee

What the team is known for Premier firm with statewide recognition for its solid client relationships with developers and members of the long-term care industry. Additionally noted for its financing expertise, particularly in the areas of tax-free bonds and public incentives.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team as a whole is extremely knowledgeable and very thorough. Their strategic planning and ability to work with local government entities have enabled the successful completion of our various projects."

"This is one of the best law firms I have ever dealt with. They are professional and have outstanding legal knowledge."

Work highlights Represented One Nashville Place in the negotiation of a 100,000 sq ft long-term lease to Regions Bank for its new Nashville headquarters.

Acted for L.C. Housing SPE in the sale of three halls of residence to Louisburg College.

Notable practitioners

Robert Liddon impresses clients with his skillful navigation through complex transactions. Interviewees say: "He is a very good strategic thinker, steeped in knowledge of previous transactions and attendant issues." His far-reaching expertise encompasses real estate acquisitions, asset-based finance and commercial leasing.

Mary Aronov is a "timely, diligent and effective negotiator who is never hesitant to stand her ground" and "always gives thorough explanations." She regularly advises businesses in the acquisition and financing of commercial properties and assisted care facilities. 

Pete Ezell acts for REITs, financial institutions and developers in transactions, land assemblages and leasing mandates. He stands out for his considerable experience handling PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes). An interviewee remarks: "He is very good at what he does." 

Practice group leader John Gupton focuses on commercial real estate and mortgage lending. He earns widespread recognition for his representation of commercial real estate developers and proprietors.

Matthew Harris has a versatile practice that spans healthcare real estate as well as land use and zoning issues. He is instructed by both public companies and private corporations to handle acquisitions, dispositions and commercial leases.

Significant clients First Tennessee Bank, Riviana Foods, ServiceMaster, Wright Medical Group, Lancaster Pollard Mortgage.