A veteran local lawyer says he’s in search of the “A-team” of area attorneys as he begins to build a large regional law firm’s first Richmond office.
Vernon Inge has been lured away from LeClairRyan after 23 years to lead Baltimore-based Whiteford Taylor & Preston’s new local outpost.
“It’s just a great new opportunity,” Inge said of his decision to leave. “It’s new energy and a new challenge.”
Inge brings with him Corey Booker, a partner from LeClair who had been with the firm since 2006. They both started with Whiteford Taylor today and are working out of temporary space in the SunTrust Center as they search for a permanent office downtown.
In addition to continuing his commercial litigation, bankruptcy and sports law practice, Inge is tasked with luring others to join him and Booker and compliment their practices. He said he’ll look for lawyers with transactional, corporate and real estate practices.
“My goal is to find the A-team of lawyers to pull together in this office in Richmond,” he said. “That’s the challenge for me, is to get the top notch lawyers to join us.”
Inge said Whiteford Taylor reached out to him, as it was looking for a way into Richmond to get its piece of the volume of bankruptcy cases and related litigation.
“Obviously Richmond has become very important in the bankruptcy world and they had a need to be here,” he said.
Managing partner Martin Fletcher said the Richmond office is Whiteford Taylor’s 16th location and its third in Virginia, joining outposts in Northern Virginia and Roanoke. The firm was founded in the 1930s and largely represents business clients.
“We’ve been waiting to find the right person to be the foundation upon which to build our office in Richmond,” Fletcher said. “A number of our lawyers have known (Inge) for many years and knew he would be a perfect fit for us.”
Fletcher said the firm has an eye on building Richmond to 10-15 attorneys in the near-term.
“But we’ll let opportunity dictate how quickly it grows,” he said.
The firm has 170 attorneys total, spread across offices in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Michigan.
As for leaving LeClair after so many years, Inge said it will take some getting used to.
“I’m going to miss a lot of people there and I’ve learned a lot from a whole lot of people there.”