Troutman Sanders L.L.P. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Troutman Sanders L.L.P.

600 Peachtree Street NE
Suite 5200

Company Perspectives

Troutman Sanders attorneys are experienced in virtually every aspect of commercial law and public policy. We maintain a solid reputation for our international work, with offices in Hong Kong and London. From managing litigation to trying cases, our attorneys have the skills to bring virtually any matter to a successful resolution. Whether it's sophisticated transactional work or government regulatory issues, we have the depth and breadth to handle your case. You'll find that no matter what your legal needs are, we have a skilled lawyer capable of meeting them.

History of Troutman Sanders L.L.P.

Troutman Sanders L.L.P. is a leading Atlanta law firm. It has offices in Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, New York, London, and Hong Kong. The firm is active in a number of areas and has significant lobbying activities. Former Georgia governor Carl E. Sanders has led the firm after joining his practice with Atlanta's venerable Troutman, Sams in 1971. Troutman, Sams brought with it longtime client the Southern Company, and utilities have remained a prime focus of the group.


Troutman Sanders L.L.P. was formed by the 1971 merger of Troutman, Sams, Schroder & Lockerman with that of former Georgia governor Carl E. Sanders, who had launched his own firm in 1967. By the time of the merger, it had about two dozen attorneys and was known as Sanders, Ashmore & Boozer.

Sanders, who was governor from 1963 to 1966, was a Democrat and a leader of the New South movement. Sanders was raised a Southern Baptist in Augusta, Georgia; his father worked a white collar job for the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant. After a World War II stint in the Army Air Corps, Sanders earned a law degree and joined local attorneys Hammond & Kennedy. He later formed a firm with G. Bertrand Hester and C. B. Thurmond.

After leaving politics Sanders terminated his practice with his remaining Augusta partner, Eugene Holley, and established a new firm in downtown Atlanta's historic Candler Building. Within a few years its roster of clients included First Georgia Bank, whose holding company Sanders founded in the late 1960s. No mere figurehead, Sanders actively built it into one of Atlanta's top law firms, notes biographer James F. Cook. At the same time, the former governor was involved in a number of business and civic ventures.

The Troutman firm dated back to 1897. It had 15 attorneys at the time of the merger. Georgia Power Company, an electric utility, had become a major client in 1930, when the firm was called Colquitt, Parker, Troutman and Arkwright. In fact, two of Troutman's partners, Preston Arkwright, Jr., and Harlee Branch, would go on to become presidents of the utility.

Carl Sanders later told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that the idea to merge the two firms came from Georgia Power President Ed Hatch. The Southern Company, the parent of Georgia Power and then the largest utilities holding company in the United States, hired Troutman Sanders as its own general counsel in 1979, replacing its New York attorneys Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts. These accounts were worth $3 million a year, according to the American Lawyer.

Sanders headed the newly merged firm as chief partner. Troutman Sanders had 85 attorneys by the early 1980s. The largest segment of its practice was litigation (including bankruptcy litigation), with 27 lawyers, according to The American Lawyer Guide to Law Firms 1981-82. It also was involved in real estate, general business (including media and sports), utilities, corporate finance, tax and estate planning, and administrative law.

Gaining Access for CNN in 1981

Clientele included a number of Atlanta sports teams as well as Ted Turner's growing media empire, including Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and the Cable News Network (CNN). In 1981, Troutman Sanders filed the antitrust lawsuit against the three main broadcast TV networks that ultimately granted CNN access to the White House news pool.

The broadcasting empire controlled by Sanders' longtime friend J. B. Fuqua was an enduring client, as was Cousins Properties, owner of Atlanta's Omni Coliseum and Omni Hotel. According to the American Lawyer, Sanders also attracted a number of international businesses to his firm, including Belgium's Food Giant grocery chain.

New HQ in 1992

By the early 1990s, Troutman Sanders had 175 attorneys and was billing $40 million a year, Sanders told Cook. In 1992, Troutman Sanders moved its headquarters into seven floors in the new 55-story NationsBank Plaza (later called Bank of America Plaza) on Atlanta's Peachtree Street. It was the tallest building in Georgia.

At the same time, the firm's name was officially shortened from Troutman, Sanders, Lockerman & Ashmore to Troutman Sanders. In 1993, the firm adopted an executive committee structure, headed by Carl Sanders, while tapping Robert W. Webb, Jr., for the newly created position of managing partner.

A Washington, D.C., office was opened in September 1993. During the course of the decade, it would grow to more than 50 lawyers.

By the late 1990s, Troutman Sanders was the third largest law firm in Atlanta, based on the number of local attorneys, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Public, corporate, litigation, and real estate law were its main areas of emphasis.

The overseas acquisitions of client Southern Co. kept Troutman Sanders busy in international law. The firm opened a small office in Hong Kong in May 1997, just before the British handed the colony over to the People's Republic.

According to Fulton County Daily Report figures cited by Georgia Trend, Troutman Sanders had revenues of $77 million in 1998 and net income of $29.5 million. It was growing fast in spite of increasing competition among law firms, Webb told Georgia Trend.

Mays & Valentine Merger in 2001

At the turn of the millennium, Troutman Sanders employed 300 attorneys and about 300 other staffers at offices in Atlanta, Washington, and Hong Kong. The firm grew 50 percent by combining with Virginia's Mays & Valentine, L.L.P. in a merger that was completed on January 1, 2001. Mays & Valentine was based in the state capital of Richmond and also maintained offices in Tysons Corners, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach in northern Virginia's high tech corridor. It had been founded in the 1920s. According to the Fulton County Daily Report, both firms were "lifestyle-focused," encouraging attorneys to have a life outside the office.

Both Troutman Sanders and Mays & Valentine had settled upon a course of regional expansion. "We believe that creating a regional footprint is in the best interests of our clients, who expect practice depth and regional coverage," said Troutman Sanders Managing Partner Robert W. Webb, Jr., in a statement.

Troutman opened an office in London in 2001, again drawn by utilities work. It was considering other locations in Europe as well.

Troutman Sanders also was preparing to expand in North Carolina, although the proper opportunity to enter the financial center of Charlotte proved elusive. An office did open in Raleigh, North Carolina's high-tech center, in March 2003. As was its custom, Troutman Sanders typically hired local lawyers for its new offices, rather than relocating large numbers of staff. By this time, the firm also had offices in Hong Kong, London, Washington, and four cities in Virginia. It had considered Dallas, Nashville, south Florida, and Europe for future sites.

By 2003, the firm had roughly 500 attorneys altogether. It also had a thriving lobbying practice, signing up Coca-Cola Co. as a client in late 2002. Other public affairs clients included Microsoft, General Electric, and Merck. Total annual revenues rose from $194 million to $206.5 million in 2004, reported the Fulton County Daily Report.

More Space in 2004

Rather than join the exodus of law firms abandoning downtown Atlanta for the burgeoning midtown district, in 2004 Troutman Sanders decided to renew its lease while expanding its offices by 22,000 square feet to 307,000 square feet. Troutman Sanders committed to the Bank of America Plaza, which was owned by longtime client Cousins Properties, until 2020.

Troutman Sanders launched a New York office in 2005 with 90 lawyers from Jenkens & Gilchrist Parker Chapin L.L.P. Jenkens & Gilchrist was formed in 1934 as Parker Chapin & Flattau and had been acquired by Jenkens & Gilchrist of Dallas in 2001.

While the Atlanta office was staying put, Troutman was moving its Richmond, Virginia, staff (who had also been housed in a building named for Bank of America) to a new development called Riverside on the James. The 15-story building was the downtown area's first skyscraper in 15 years, noted the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Principal Divisions

Corporate; Finance; Litigation; Public Law; Real Estate.

Principal Competitors

Alston & Bird L.L.P.; Kilpatrick Stockton L.L.P.; King & Spalding L.L.P.


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