Apr 2, 2002

SGR Boosts Land Use and Development Litigation Capabilities, Adds Five New Attorneys

ATLANTA (April 02, 2002) — Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP announced today that five attorneys have joined its Litigation Practice Group, enhancing the land use and zoning capabilities of the Firm to meet the demands of ever-increasing regulations for developers. SGR is now home to more than 65 litigation attorneys.

As Atlanta continues to grow and land within the Perimeter becomes scarce, developers are more frequently erecting multi-use communities. These developments must meet a growing number of legal guidelines, requiring highly skilled attorneys who are familiar with these particular challenges.

In the past, a developer simply needed the assistance of an attorney at the closing of the land acquisition. Now that closing is just a small part of the clients’ actual needs. There is a complex set of hurdles that must be negotiated even before this initial closing can occur. In addition, the issue of growth management has quickly become a major concern of not only local and state governments and developers, but organized community groups as well.

Offering expertise that complements SGR’s well-known construction law, real estate and environmental law practices, this zoning, planning and land use practice group furthers the Firm’s commitment to the managed growth of Atlanta and the surrounding areas. The new SGR practice group consists of five prominent attorneys and an experienced support staff from the firm of Seyfarth & Shaw. In addition, the Jacksonville, Florida, office of SGR has a team of zoning, planning and land use professionals that will be working with the new Atlanta group to expand SGR’s regional expertise focused on the Southeast.

“Among other things, the addition of this group significantly increases our ability to advise our clients on the sweeping new laws and regulations concerning zoning and land use,” said Steve Forte, managing partner and chairman of SGR’s executive committee. “The skills and experience these attorneys bring to us will complement our practice and further extend our ability to provide our clients with top-quality legal services. Our current developer clients will be pleased to learn that this enhanced expertise is now available from our Firm.”

“Being a part of Smith, Gambrell & Russell gives us several key advantages, including having an Atlanta headquarters, which is crucial for working closely with clients in the region,” said partner Kathy Zickert, a 23-year veteran of the land use legal field who will lead SGR’s land use practice. “Our clients will benefit greatly from the expertise of SGR’s construction and environmental practices and the firm’s wealth of resources that will help the land use and zoning practice to grow.”

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