Burr & Forman on the Rise
Focused on results-driven client service
The guiding principle of Burr & Forman is that results matter. Serving clients as trusted business advisers for more than a century in the Southeast, the law firm is distinguished by exceptional services honoring a long tradition of visionary leadership. With offices in Florida since 2009, Burr & Forman is attracting top talent to its four Florida locations in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, responding proactively to growing demand for client services.
Representing Fortune 500 companies and a well-regarded client base, the firm’s attorneys earn high rankings for leadership in their fields of practice. With 300 attorneys firmwide and nearly 100 licensed in Florida, Burr & Forman is consistently ranked among Florida Trend’s Legal Elite. The 2017 Legal Elite list includes 11 attorneys from the firm’s Florida offices.
Strategic New Directions
Guided by conversations with partners, industry leaders, clients and the sound principles of succession planning, the firm recently announced the reorganization of its leadership structure. These changes encompass three top positions in a move that strengthens Burr & Forman's commitment to results-driven, innovative client service.
“We saw an opportunity to provide direction and focus in specific areas that impact the firm’s growth and success,” says Lee Thuston, Burr & Forman’s longtime, Birmingham-based managing partner who now serves in the newly established role of chairman. “Most importantly, this structure makes it possible for us to help our clients proactively address the business and legal needs of tomorrow, especially in the realm of technology and its impact on health care, financial institutions and manufacturing -— three key sectors we serve.”
Furthering the firm’s growth initiative, Birmingham partner Ed Christian is the new chief executive officer, overseeing daily operations and firmwide administrative departments, while Atlanta partner Erich Durlacher serves as president, responsible for practice management and efficiency of the firm’s practice groups.
A Legacy of Leadership
Burr & Forman’s leadership is at the helm of high-profile initiatives and organizations shaping the legal profession, especially in Florida.
At the end of June, Bill Schifino, Tampa office managing partner, completes his one-year term as president of The Florida Bar, which represents approximately 104,000 members nationwide. His work has included ardently promoting public access to civil justice and emphasizing preservation of the third-branch independent judiciary. Caring for Florida’s most vulnerable populations, he championed pro bono service, challenging Florida attorneys to provide 2 million collective hours of service in the state every year.
“Working with distinguished colleagues and leaders to advance the profession that I’m passionate about is an honor,” says Schifino. “As attorneys, we have tremendous opportunities to shape society in the best way possible. I’m very proud and humbled to be a part of that.”
In addition, one of Schifino’s most remarkable roles will leave a lasting impact on future generations:
By appointment of the Florida Senate, he serves on the prestigious 2017-2018 Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). The CRC reviews, proposes and drafts constitutional amendments that go to voters on the 2018 ballot. It is a rare opportunity to shape public policy, as revisions are only made every 20 years.
Robust Expansion in Florida
From north central Florida to southern gateways providing access to South American markets, Burr & Forman is strengthening its high-caliber team.
Joining the Orlando office this year, Mary-Beth Valley and Scott Miller bolster the firm’s acumen and breadth of services.
“The additions of Mary-Beth and Scott supplement our talented roster of lawyers with their exceptional skills,” says Eric Golden, managing partner of the Orlando office. “Both have exemplary track records of client service that align with our commitment of providing our clients with the quality of legal services that they expect and deserve.”
Valley enhances Burr & Forman’s busy real estate and lending practice, while Miller brings new experience to the Orlando office serving clients with estate planning, trusts, tax and tax controversy needs.
“With the continued growth of Northeast Florida’s real estate and development market, we welcomed three established real estate partners to our Jacksonville office this year,” says Greg Lunny, managing partner of the Jacksonville office. “They have added depth and experience to the real estate and development services we offer, and boosted the firm’s geographic footprint throughout Florida and the Southeast.”
The new partners – B.J. Ibach, Timothy May and Chris Strohmenger – are all eminent in their field. Their collective experience spans real estate and land development, from sales and acquisitions focused on retail, commercial and multifamily neighborhoods, to serving as counsel for banking and lending institutions in commercial real estate matters and loan restructurings, to working with tenants and landlords in negotiating office, retail and industrial leases.
Founded in 2012, the Fort Lauderdale location is steadily growing. An expansion this summer adds 4,000 square feet, growing the office to 13,800 square feet, including attorney offices and community conference facilities.
“South Florida serves as a gateway to many industries and companies that operate in our firm’s Southeastern footprint, and like all of our newer markets, our move into Fort Lauderdale was in direct response to client requests,” says Larry Litow, managing partner of Burr & Forman’s Fort Lauderdale office.
Burr & Forman is a Southeast regional firm with 11 offices in six states.