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Feb 5, 2024

Smith, Gambrell & Russell Continues Strategic Growth with Third Combination in Last Two Years

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (February 5, 2024) – Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP (SGR) today announced the continuation of its aggressive strategic growth initiative through a combination with Jacksonville, Fla.-based ABL Law. The combination expands the firm’s Litigation and Corporate Practices in the Jacksonville market, adding counsel Daniel Bean, Karen Bowden and Stacy Scaldo, and associates Jackie Van Laningham and Tucker Pryor.

SGR has expanded strategically in recent years within the U.S. and internationally through multiple firm combinations, the addition of new practices, strategic hires, and the openings of five new offices. Most recently SGR combined with Freeborn & Peters LLP in 2023, and prior to that, combined with Chicago litigation firm, Figliulo & Silverman in 2022.

“As we continue to grow SGR, we do so strategically, and this combination was a natural fit for several reasons,” said Stephen M. Forte, SGR’s managing partner and chair of the executive committee. “ABL Law is highly regarded for the strength of its litigation team and recognized profile in the Jacksonville legal market. The similarity of our respective cultures made this combination a natural fit for both firms. We are proud to have these fine lawyers join with SGR.”

The combination increases the attorney headcount in the Jacksonville office to 37.

“Jacksonville is SGR’s fourth largest office and this combination with ABL Law continues our commitment to growth,” said Jacksonville office managing partner, Steven E. Brust. “We welcome Dan, Karen, Stacy, Jackie, and Tucker as we continue our commitment to providing our clients the highest level of service.”

“We are thrilled to be joining SGR,” said Bean, who co-founded and served as chairman of ABL Law. “We represent some of the leading and fastest growing companies in North Florida, and we are excited for our clients to benefit from the services we can now offer them through this combination.”

Bean joins SGR as counsel in the Litigation practice. He has extensive experience in trust and probate matters, complex commercial litigation matters, including contract disputes, insurance coverage issues, financial lending matters, class actions, and more. Mr. Bean earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law and holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

Bowden joins the firm as counsel in the Corporate Practice. She has practiced law for over twenty-five years in a wide range of areas, including employment law, litigation, health care, real estate, contracts, business, and commercial lending. Ms. Bowden earned her J.D. from University of Florida Levin College of Law and holds a B.A. from Tulane University. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Rethreaded, Inc., a nonprofit organization that employs human trafficking survivors and provides time, space, and support for their healing through a holistic program, counseling and community.

Scaldo joins SGR as counsel in the Litigation Practice. She served for seventeen years as a law professor for a Jacksonville area law school. As a law teacher and scholar, Ms. Scaldo was actively engaged in the development of legal theory and application, particularly regarding constitutional issues and individual rights. Ms. Scaldo earned her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University, JD and holds a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.

Van Laningham joins the firm as an associate in the Litigation Practice. She specializes in trust and probate, contract disputes, banking, and administrative law. Ms. Van Laningham earned her J.D. from Florida State University College of Law, magna cum laude, and holds a B.A. from University of Florida.

Pryor joins the firm as an associate in the Litigation practice. While attending law school at Florida International University College of Law, Mr. Pryor was selected by the United States Air Force for their Graduate Law Program. Upon graduation, he also earned a commission as an officer in the Air Force through the University of Miami ROTC. Mr. Pryor served with Air Force Special Operations Command in New Mexico, and later with the United States Space Force near Cocoa Beach, Florida. Mr. Pryor also holds a B.A. from University of North Florida.

About Smith Gambrell Russell
SGR is a full-service, international law firm that advises regional, national and global businesses on a wide range of legal matters. The Firm’s nearly 400 attorneys provide legal counsel in more than 50 specialized practice areas, including corporate transactions, litigation, intellectual property, aviation, banking, real estate, insurance/reinsurance, construction, employment law, international, and employee benefits and executive compensation. Founded in 1893, SGR has 14 domestic and international offices, including Atlanta; Austin; Charlotte; Chicago; Jacksonville, FL; London; Los Angeles; Miami; Munich; New York; Southampton; Springfield, IL; Tampa, FL; and Washington, D.C.


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