Ober Kaler law firm to merge with larger Tenn. com­pany

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - By Natalie Sher­man nsh­er­man@balt­sun.com

The Ober Kaler law firm, which started in Bal­ti­more more than 100 years ago, said Mon­day it is merg­ing with a larger Ten­nessee com­pany, cre­at­ing a firm with more than 800at­tor­neys and ad­vis­ers in 25 of­fices.

The com­bined firm will go by the name of Baker Donel­son. Terms of the deal, ex­pected to take ef­fect Jan. 1, were not dis­closed.

The merger was ini­ti­ated by Ober Kaler, said chair­man and CEO S. Craig Holden, who said the firm started look­ing for po­ten­tial part­ners more than a year ago, want­ing to ex­pand its geo­graphic foot­print and in­crease the scope of its ser­vices in an ef­fort to be more com­pet­i­tive with clients.

“This is not a sit­u­a­tion where [Baker Donel­son] came look­ing for some­one to ac­quire,” Holden said. “We made a strate­gic de­ci­sion to look at po­ten­tial part­ners rec­og­niz­ing our need to grow.”

The firms said the com­bi­na­tion will cre­ate one of the largest health care prac­tices in the coun­try, com­bin­ing Ober Kaler’s reg­u­la­tory ex­per­tise with Baker Donel­son’s trans­ac­tional prac­tice.

No lay­offs of Ober Kaler at­tor­neys or staff are ex­pected as a re­sult of the merger, said Holden, who along with an­other Ober part­ner will serve on the new firm’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

Holden ac­knowl­edged that the merger means the loss of a Bal­ti­more name. The firm has been around since 1903. He said he and oth­ers are “ex­plor­ing ways to con­tinue that brand mov­ing for­ward.”

Ober Kaler, head­quar­tered at the 100 Light St. tower, em­ploys about 220 peo­ple.

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