Baker Donelson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ben C. Adams said, "The initial integration process has gone smoothly due in large part to the similar cultures of our firms and a lot of hard work by numerous people with both firms. Moving forward, there's more to be done but we look forward to working with our new colleagues as one firm to bring our clients all the advantages and benefits that were the motivation behind our decision to join firms."
Joining from Ober|Kaler were nearly 110 attorneys and more than 100 staff members, giving the combined firm more than 800 attorneys and advisors, including around 380 shareholders and nearly 1,600 total employees. There were no layoffs at either firm as a result of the merger.
S. Craig Holden, who previously served as Ober|Kaler's chair and CEO, said, "We are very proud to officially be part of Baker Donelson. We are focused now on collaborating with our clients and getting them integrated and aware of the additional resources this combination brings."
The combination of Baker Donelson with Baltimore-based Ober|Kaler also results in the third largest health practice in the country. The combined health practice, now known as Baker Ober Health Law, has nearly 200 attorneys, including some of the most prominent leaders in the field of health law. The merger also gives Baker Donelson a strong presence in three crucial markets that drive the nation's health care industry: Baltimore, which is home to the headquarters of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Washington, D.C., the center for health policy and regulation; and Nashville, the nation's center for for-profit health care.
The combination has also created a predominant financial services practice, joining Ober|Kaler's strengths in commercial finance and representation of community banking institutions with Baker Donelson's reputation as a leader in regulatory, transactional and litigation matters for financial institutions. Among other practices that are enhanced by the combination are construction, litigation, tax and intellectual property.
Members of Ober|Kaler's leadership now hold various leadership roles in Baker Donelson.
- Mr. Holden and Patrick Cameron, who served as chair of Ober|Kaler's transactional practices, have joined Baker Donelson's board of directors.
- Darlene Davis, previously Ober|Kaler's president and COO, is serving as managing shareholder of the Baltimore office.
- Ober|Kaler attorneys also now hold practice group leadership roles in the combined firm, including Julie Kass, previously Ober|Kaler's health law group co-chair, who now serves as co-chair of Baker Donelson's health law group; Frank Bonaventure, previously chair of Ober|Kaler's financial institutions group, who now serves as vice chair of Baker Donelson's financial services transactions group; Stuart Schabes, previously co-chair of Ober|Kaler's tax and business groups, who now serves as vice chair of Baker Donelson's Business Department; and Joseph Kovars, previously co-chair of Ober|Kaler's construction group, who now serves as co-chair of Baker Donelson's construction group. In addition to serving on Baker Donelson's board of directors, Patrick Cameron is also serving as vice chair of the Firm's Financial Services Department.
Baker Donelson Chair and CEO Ben Adams and President and COO Jennifer P. Keller are maintaining their leadership positions in the combined firm.