Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read May 2021 — Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, has been busier than ever over the last 12 months. For Lela Hollabaugh, Nashville office managing partner, that is a sign that the future looks good for both Nashville and the legal firm, bolstered by the fact that industries continue to relocate to the area.
What differentiates Bradley from other firms in the Nashville region?
The firm has been in Nashville since 1910, which alone makes us unique. When you couple that with our overall platform of 10 offices and over 550 lawyers, it gives us a better opportunity to serve our clients and the ability to draw on so many resources that are not limited to Nashville. That, I think, is one factor that makes us particularly unique.
How has demand for your services shifted versus pre-pandemic levels?
First and foremost, we’re busier which was a surprise. Many people thought that the legal sector would be among the first to slow because businesses were shutting down. But it was the complete opposite. Across all of our markets and in Nashville, we stayed busy and got busier. The cranes are dotting the skyline and construction work has continued to progress at just a phenomenal pace. Our healthcare practice also has been busy as the hospitals and everybody who supports them had to adapt to the ever changing regulatory environment.
One thing that has been interesting to me is the ability to do a lot of remote business. It’s allowing us to do things more efficiently and to provide the same quality results for a client. It just saves you the travel time related to getting on an airplane or in a car to go to the courthouse. I think that is a change we will see going forward in the legal market.
What unique opportunities do you see in the Nashville region compared to other regions the firm operates in?
We do a fair amount of business related to the regulatory and tax environment. We have a lot of industries moving here. Oracle is planning to move here, for example, and they’ll bring over 8,000 jobs to Nashville. Facebook is in the process of building a data center just on the outskirts of town. AllianceBernstein has relocated to Nashville from New York City. This is a tremendous opportunity for the city and those of us in the legal sector. It’s an opportunity for us to help them, to help our city and our community.
What newfound efficiencies in the court system have emerged that might reduce overall court times?
For your more routine court hearings, I think the new remote video technologies will continue to be used because the court can handle so many more cases efficiently. For more complicated matters, such as trials, I expect the courts will be more inclined to go back to doing things in person.
What legislation or regulations are you paying attention to that could significantly impact your clients?
Certainly, with the new federal administration, there’s a lot to pay attention to related to the environmental shift. There is a great deal of pre-Trump regulation that’s been put back in place across all industries and that’s affecting our clients a lot. In Tennessee, one issue that is of particular interest is the legislature’s discussion of changes to the court system related to claims against the state. If you have litigation matters with the state of Tennessee, those have routinely been handled by one judge in Nashville. The legislature is talking about changing that so that there’d be a panel of judges across the state.
What is your outlook for the firm and Nashville’s legal sector over the next 18 months or so?
Historically when there’s a typical recession, Nashville has been one of the last cities to go into a recession and one of the first to come out. While the pandemic is not the same thing, I still think we will respond the same way. Our economy in Nashville is diverse and that helps us weather the storm. We have seen a rapid increase in real estate investment and housing prices are going up dramatically. Our industries have responded well, they’ve tightened their belts, but they continue to invest where they need to. We were fortunate. We had a great 2020 and, hopefully, we’ll do even better in 2021.
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