Alston & Bird marks a major milestone this month, celebrating 20 years of service in Charlotte following its combination with intellectual property (IP) firm Bell, Seltzer, Park & Gibson in 1997.
Since then, the firm has achieved significant growth, serving clients across a number of market-leading practices, including IP, finance, and private equity, while investing substantially in Charlotte’s social, educational, and cultural life through pro bono and other community activities.
“After 20 years, we are proud of what we have built in Charlotte and feel very much a part of the city’s economic, social, and cultural fabric,” said Richard Hays, Alston & Bird managing partner. “We have grown alongside the needs of our clients while making a positive difference in the community through our pro bono and volunteer services to help those most in need.”
Starting with 35 attorneys at the time of the merger, the office has almost tripled in size and now totals almost 100 attorneys, as well as more than 100 professional staff. Ranked by the Charlotte Business Journal as the city’s fourth-largest firm, the office also carries the proud distinction of being honored as one of the state’s best places to work by Business North Carolina three years in a row.
With the merger, the office became an IP litigation and patent prosecution powerhouse, serving such clients as Electrolux, Honeywell, and Sealed Air. It would later grow to become home to two of Alston & Bird’s marquee transactional practices: Finance – a market leader that counts among its clients major U.S. financial institutions such as Wells Fargo, Starwood Mortgage, and Wilmington Trust – and Private Equity, representing prominent private equity firms such as Pamlico Capital, The Carlyle Group, and Ridgemont Equity Partners.
The office is also a major hub for a broad range of other legal services, including litigation, tax, and government and internal investigations, the latter of which features two former North Carolina U.S. Attorneys as partners.
Since its founding, the office has been an agent for local economic and community engagement:
- For the past seven years, Charlotte has played host to Alston & Bird’s annual Servicing Symposium, held at the Charlotte Convention Center, bringing together more than 450 market participants from across the country to address current business challenges facing the mortgage servicing industry.
- In the past 20 years, the Charlotte office partners have annually donated more than 33,000 pro bono hours and volunteered more than 32,000 service hours to Charlotte organizations such as Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and Mecklenburg County Legal Aid.
- Each year for the past six years, the office has joined with a Charlotte business to host the annual “Wills for Schools” program, which provides area public school employees and their families with free wills, estate planning, and powers of attorney.
- The office also has a long and proud history of supporting the United Way and has raised more than half a million dollars to benefit the Charlotte community over the past two decades.
“Our 20th anniversary is a proud moment for us, and we are thankful to those who have made it possible, including our clients, our lawyers, and our colleagues here and throughout the firm,” said John Baron, partner-in-charge of the office. “Since opening in Charlotte, we’ve gone from strength to strength, significantly expanding our brand as a go-to law firm and building our reputation as business and community leaders.”