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County attorneys join larger Cobb firm

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The law firm representing the Clayton County Board of Commissioners has joined a larger firm, in a move set to give the county more legal "back up."

"We feel like it is a benefit to all of our clients, because we're adding more attorneys, with more experience," said Jack Hancock, a partner at Hancock, Dempsey & Everett, the firm representing the county government, as well as the Clayton County Development Authority.

Hancock, Dempsey & Everett, a Forest Park firm with six attorneys specializing in civil litigation and real estate law, joined Freeman Mathis & Gary, a specialty litigation firm based in Cobb County. FMG has a staff of more than 30 attorneys.

Hancock said the move has been under discussion for two or three months.

FMG was interested in the alliance as a "strategic addition" to its government litigation practice, according to the recent announcement. The firm now acts as council for more than 100 city and county governments in Georgia.

FMG has "what is thought to be the largest, outside government liability litigation practice in Georgia," according to Ben Mathis, a partner at the firm.

"The addition is an important part of our ongoing plan to strengthen our direct representation of local governments, and also gives us added capacity in our business litigation practice," Mathis said.

Hancock said the "added capacity" was an important part of the motivation for the Forest Park law firm.

"This provides us with the ability to handle multiple, large items," Hancock said. "This gives us the ability to spread that load out ... It gives us a broader range of expertise and it just gives us more back-up."

Hancock, Dempsey & Everett will now act as a branch office of FMG.

Hancock said he hoped the new branch office will "be an important asset for our corporate clients with business developments and litigation matters in the area."

He told the Cobb attorneys he was optimistic about future economic development in Clayton County, citing the ongoing growth of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the redevelopment of Fort Gillem and the development of a commuter rail line.