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Tennessee’s Allen Kopet Acquires W.Va. Firm, Grows ‘One State at a Time’

Posted Jun 23, 2010 10:42 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The sign on the office of Charleston, W.Va., law firm Francis, Nelson & Brison will be changing soon.

The seven-lawyer law firm has been acquired by Allen, Kopet & Associates, a law firm based in Chattanooga, Tenn., the Charleston Daily Mail reports. The acquisition is consistent with Allen Kopet's website motto, “Growing to serve our clients one state at a time.”

Allen Kopet’s chief financial officer, Steve Morris, told the Daily Mail that when he started at the law firm nine years ago, the firm had only six offices. Now it has 21. "West Virginia seemed like a logical place for us to move next," Morris told the publication.

Morris said a few Francis Nelson staff members were laid off in the transition because Allen Kopet uses a centralized dictation system. A lawyer can dictate into his or her BlackBerry, and the recording is forwarded to a crew of legal typists in Chattanooga for transcription.

Regional firms are becoming more interested in the West Virginia market, according to Thomas Heywood, managing partner of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love. "At the national level, we saw national firms become international firms," Heywood told the Daily Mail. "One layer down you've seen firms with a presence in one or two major cities growing to become regional law firms.”

Heywood's own firm now has offices in West Virginia and two other states.

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