Adams and Reese acquiring S.C. law firm

Adams and Reese LLP is acquiring Ellis Lawhorne, a law firm in Columbia, S.C., effective June 1.

With the addition of 23 attorneys in Columbia, New Orleans-based Adams and Reese said it will have more than 340 attorneys and advisers in 16 offices in seven states throughout the South and Washington, D.C.

The announcement was made jointly Tuesday by Charles P. Adams Jr., managing partner of Adams and Reese, and William P. McElveen Jr., managing shareholder of Ellis Lawhorne, founded in 1980.

McElveen will serve as a transactions practice group leader in the merged firm. Robert P. Bethea Jr. will serve as the partner in charge of the Adams and Reese Columbia office.

“We realized that a merger with a larger firm would enable us to provide more resources to meet the higher levels of specialization that our clients are increasingly requiring,” Bethea said. “Smaller firms have limitations, simply by virtue of their size or footprint.”

“Our firm’s strategic plan directs selective growth in targeted markets …,” Adams said in a news release.

Columbia’s business climate ranks 14th out of the Top 40 strongest U.S. metro economies, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, and is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the Southeast, the statement said.

“The merger is beneficial for both firms with Adams and Reese expanding its regional footprint and Ellis Lawhorne extending its reach for its clients into Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, DC,” said Gif Thornton, chairman of the Adams and Reese executive committee.

The Columbia office marks Adams and Reese’s second merger in 2013. In March, the law firm expanded its Florida footprint with the addition of a Jacksonville office as its fifth Florida location by acquiring Volpe, Bajalia, Wickes, Rogerson & Wachs.

In addition to its new Columbia office, the firm has offices in Birmingham and Mobile, Ala.; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.; Baton Rouge and New Orleans; Jackson, Miss.; Jacksonville, Tampa, Tallahassee, St. Petersburg and Sarasota, Fla.; Houston, Texas; and Washington D.C.