In 1987, four lawyers who were already practicing in the Evansville area broke away to form their own law firm of Rudolph, Fine, Porter and Johnson. Built from the ground up by Ross Rudolph, Marc Fine, Montgomery Porter, and James Johnson, it was eventually recognized as a leader in the region.
But when the firm’s partners saw an opportunity to extend their reach this year, they took it. On July 1, Rudolph, Fine, Porter and Johnson merged its 20-attorney office with Jackson Kelly PLLC, one of the largest 150 law firms in the U.S., for a total of 26 attorneys in the Evansville office.
“It is an opportunity for us to take advantage of the changing environment,” says Marc Fine. “Both the legal environment and the business climate in this area of the country are changing.”
The merger idea started from informal talks between partners from both firms. Jackson Kelly was looking for a larger footprint in the Evansville area, primarily because the firm believes the business environment will be enhanced in the near future.
Clients likely won’t notice much of a difference, says Fine, although the merger will allow the local lawyers to have greater access to information and outside experts. All of the lawyers from Rudolph, Fine, Porter and Johnson will continue with the same areas of law it’s done in the past.
“They have expertise we did not previously have,” says Fine. “They have systems in place that are representative of a larger organization that has greater resources.”
Jackson Kelly PLLC was founded in 1822 in Charleston, West Virginia, and opened a small office with three lawyers in 2011 in Evansville. It has 12 total locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and the District of Columbia.
“Jackson Kelly is historically an energy firm,” says Fine. “They do a lot of coal, oil, gas, and mineral work. But they also have exposures in health care and banking. It is very comforting to have people who were doing similar work to us, just in different environments.”
For more information about Jackson Kelly PLLC, visit jacksonkelly.com.