NY law firm Rivkin Radler enters Florida market with 20-lawyer office

People walk along a corridor of a exhibition hall in Tokyo
REUTERS/Toru Hanai

(Reuters) - New York-founded regional law firm Rivkin Radler said Thursday that it is launching its first location outside the northeast, adding 20 lawyers for a new Jacksonville, Florida, office.

The firm said it brought on most of the new attorneys, including eight partners, from Atlanta-founded Smith Gambrell & Russell. The partners include class action and insurance litigation partners John Marino and Lindsey Trowell and immigration attorney Melissa Dearing.

Barry Levy, a Rivkin partner who helped spearhead the new office, said the firm has worked in the past with some Smith Gambrell partners as co-counsel. The group counted insurance companies, including Geico Corp, as clients.

Levy said the firm had been looking for a way into the Florida market because clients have been expanding or relocating there for the "tax and business environment."

He also said the insurance market sees a difficult litigation environment in Florida, and it was prudent for the firm to have a physical presence there. The state last week passed a tort reform bill aimed partly at easing litigation against insurers.

A representative from Smith Gambrell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, Smith Gambrell merged with a Chicago-based law firm Freeborn & Peters, creating a 400-attorney firm.

Read More:

Atlanta, Chicago law firms merge as legal industry tie-ups gain steam

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on midsize law firms. Reach her at Chinekwu.osakwe@thomsonreuters.com.