Merger creates Atlanta 'powerhouse'

Atlanta-based Kilpatrick & Cody and North Carolina-based Petree Stockton have merged to form Kilpatrick Stockton, an international firm with more than 370 lawyers, which ranks among the US top 50 practices.

The new firm – which has offices in London and Brussels – has been described as a “powerhouse” in the south east of the US by the US press.

Atlanta-based partner Martin Tilson claimed this is the fastest growing region in the US.

“We have a hot-economy,” he said. “Many of the Fortune 100 firms, including UPS and Holiday Inn, have relocated to Atlanta. We also have the Raleigh Research Triangle – a hot-bed of IT development.

“This merger puts us in a good strategic position. We will be the first firm clients call when they want access to this market or if they want access internationally from within the region. For instance, we are the only firm in Atlanta with overseas offices.”

Tilson explained that lower overheads in the region and investment in “state-of-the-art communications technology” had translated directly into a lower billing rate per hour. “We now provide the same calibre of service as New York and London and are able to compete effectively with both,” he said.

Keith Ott, head of the firm's three-lawyer London office, said that the merger would bring work into his office and the Brussels office – which both used to be operated by Kilpatrick & Cody – because of the firm's coverage in the south eastern US. “We are certainly in a better position to advise a greater number of clients and expansion is expected in London,” he said.

Ott stated that, historically, the two firms enjoyed good relationships and the merger seemed a “natural move to tie up the south east”.

He added that the merger was made on an equal footing between the firms, as reflected in the new name and the existence of co-chairmen.