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Baker Donelson Launches Charleston Office with Addition of Four South Carolina Shareholders

Leading Attorneys from Two Firms Establish Baker Donelson's Second South Carolina Location
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Baker Donelson has launched a new location in Charleston, South Carolina, with the addition of four attorneys from two well-respected firms.

Joining Baker Donelson as shareholders in the Firm's new Charleston location are corporate attorney J. Ashley Cooper and employment attorney Jennifer K. Dunlap, both previously with Parker Poe, and health law attorneys Alissa Fleming and Catherine F. Wrenn, both previously with Womble Bond Dickinson.

This is Baker Donelson's second new office in the Carolinas in less than a year. In October 2021, the Firm added a team of health care attorneys in Raleigh/Research Triangle, launching its first North Carolina location. Baker Donelson has maintained a location in Columbia, South Carolina, since 2016.

"Charleston is a vibrant and fast-growing market that is critically important to serving our clients with South Carolina operations," said Baker Donelson Chair and CEO Timothy M. Lupinacci. "Establishing a foothold there leverages our capabilities in areas such as manufacturing, global trade, health care, and energy. We're proud to have such an outstanding group of attorneys launch our Charleston office, and we look forward to working with them as we continue to build on our presence across the Carolinas."

Baker Donelson's Chief Growth Officer Mark A.B. Carlson said, "Our firm is intensely focused on recruiting leading attorneys across our footprint in an extremely competitive market for talent. This expansion is an example of the broader growth trajectory we have implemented and will continue to pursue. We look forward to partnering with these exceptional attorneys to drive client and attorney growth across South Carolina, North Carolina, and beyond."

In launching this new location, Baker Donelson has established temporary office space, but the Firm plans a larger permanent office in the coming months to accommodate further additions in Charleston.

Mr. Cooper, who will serve as managing shareholder of the Charleston office, chaired the Energy Industry Team at his previous firm. He represents companies with energy interests before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and state utility commissions. He counsels clients on a range of compliance, transactional, and litigation matters. He works on new and emerging energy technologies and emerging solutions. His previous experience includes serving as chief compliance officer and assistant general counsel for a Fortune 500 energy-based holding company and as legislative director and counsel to former U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings.

Mr. Cooper said, "I first learned of Baker Donelson's strong reputation when I worked in Washington, D.C. I am excited to offer clients the expanded resources of a national law firm that understands our market needs."

Ms. Dunlap is an employment attorney with more than 20 years of experience in handling employment and business disputes in federal and state courts for clients in the manufacturing, technology, health care, banking, and hospitality industries. She advises businesses on all issues related to employment, including drafting employment agreements, handbooks, and policies. Her litigation experience includes serving as lead counsel in lawsuits involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation tied to race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, whistleblowing, and veteran status.

The addition of Ms. Fleming and Ms. Wrenn marks the latest expansion of Baker Donelson's nationally recognized Health Law practice. Beyond the addition of the six-lawyer health team in North Carolina, the Firm has made nine other health law hires across the Firm's footprint in the past year.

Ms. Fleming's practice touches on almost every aspect of health care operations, including regulatory compliance; operations and risk management; certification; reimbursement and Medicare and Medicaid repayment audits and voluntary repayments; investigations and disclosures under the CMS and OIG self-disclosure protocols involving potential violations of the Fraud and Abuse Anti-kickback Statute; confidentiality of medical information and HIPAA; facility licensing; and certification of need. In addition to her health care practice, Ms. Fleming also counsels and represents public and private employers on employment issues.

Ms. Wrenn litigates cases for businesses and health care providers, including physicians, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities. Her practice includes advising clients on regulatory compliance and handling matters that involve Medicare fraud, wrongful death, personal injury, negligence, breach of contract, and breach of warranty. Ms. Wrenn represents clients at all stages of litigation and has significant trial and appellate experience.

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