History

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The beliefs that drive Baker Donelson today can be traced back to when James F. Baker hung out his shingle in Huntsville, Tennessee. The year was 1888, a time when professional service meant providing focused, individualized attention to every client. More than 125 years later our Firm has experienced several mergers, numerous name changes and tremendous growth. It has expanded from James Baker's Courthouse Square office to 19 offices with a presence in Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas as well as Washington, D.C. and London. Through it all, we have remained committed to helping our clients make smarter decisions, and becoming a valuable business partner. Below is a timeline that marks key milestones in Baker Donelson’s rich history.

  • 1888 – James F. Baker established a law firm in Huntsville, Tennessee. Over time and after several name changes, the firm eventually became known as Baker, Worthington, Crossley & Stansberry. 
  • 1911 – Walter Chandler, original partner in the Firm later known as Chandler, Shepherd, Heiskell & Williams, began private practice in Memphis, Tennessee. 
  • 1928 – Abe Berkowitz founded a law firm in Birmingham, Alabama. Over time the Firm became known as Berkowitz, Lefkovits, Isom & Kushner. 
  • 1954 – The law firm of Donelson & Adams was founded in Memphis, Tennessee by Lewis R. Donelson, III and Ben C. Adams. 
  • 1963 – David Gambrell forms the Atlanta firm that will later become Gambrell & Stolz. 
  • 1964 – Donelson, Adams, O'Hearn, Grogan & Edwards merged with Shepherd Heiskell, Williams, Beal & Wall to become Heiskell, Donelson, Adams, Williams and Wall. 
  • 1980 – The firm of Leo Bearman merged with the Heiskell Donelson firm to become Heiskell, Donelson, Bearman, Adams, Williams & Kirsch. 
  • 1985 The Orlando, Florida firm of Litchford & Christopher Professional Association is formed. 
  • 1990 – The Atlanta firm of Kennedy & Kennedy, later known as Kennedy, Davis & Hodge, is formed. 
  • 1993 – The Chattanooga firm of Caldwell, Heggie & Helton merged with the Heiskell Donelson firm, changing the name to Heiskell, Donelson, Bearman, Adams, Williams & Caldwell. 
  • 1994 – The Heiskell Donelson and Baker Worthington firms merged to form Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell.
  • 1995 – The Firm opened its Jackson, Mississippi office with the addition of 6 leading attorneys. 
  • 2001 – The Firm merged with the Atlanta firm of Kennedy, Davis & Hodge, which specialized in intellectual property law. 
  • 2003 – The Firm merged with Berkowitz, Lefkovits, Isom & Kushner of Birmingham, Alabama to form Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. 
  • 2004 – Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz opened offices in New Orleans and Mandeville, Louisiana, adding 19 leading attorneys to the firm.
  • 2005 – Hurricane Katrina prompted the opening of Baker Donelson's Baton Rouge, Louisiana office.
  • 2007 – The Firm combined with the well-established Atlanta firm of Gambrell & Stolz.
  • 2011 – Baker Donelson expands Alabama presence with the addition of an office in Montgomery.
  • 2011 – The Firm merged with the Houston firm of Spain Chambers, marking Baker Donelson's entry into Texas.
  • 2011 – Baker Donelson merged with Litchford & Christopher Professional Association of Orlando, giving the Firm its first Florida location.
  • 2012 – Baker Donelson expands Texas presence through merger with Drucker, Rutledge & Smith.
  • 2013 – The Firm expands Florida presence with the addition of an office in Fort Lauderdale.
  • 2014 – The Firm expands again in Florida, with the addition of an office in Tallahassee.