A law firm that for more than 90 years has kept its office presence confined to the western part of Virginia has made a move eastward into Richmond.
Gentry Locke this month opened its first local office, adding to a Roanoke outpost it has had since its inception and a Lynchburg office it opened a few years ago.
While the firm is still in search of permanent space in downtown Richmond, it launched here Sept. 1 with litigation partner Gregory Habeeb overseeing the new office, and veteran attorney and lobbyist Chip Dicks joining the firm as a partner.
Managing partner Monica Monday said the firm has had clients in Richmond for years and that a number of them have said they’d like it to consider having a presence here.
“We’ve always been looking for opportunities for ways that better serve our clients and areas where we can grow the firm,” Monday said. “Richmond seemed to be an ideal place to make our next move.
“It is historic for us because up until a few years ago, we had only been based in Roanoke,” she said.
Habeeb made the move to Richmond from Gentry Locke’s Roanoke office and relocated his home from Salem.
Dicks is a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates who has a particular expertise in representing developers on land use applications.
Together they’re also launching the firm’s government and regulatory affairs practice, in addition to the firm offering its usual slate of services representing mostly businesses on a variety of matters.
Firmwide, Gentry Locke has a headcount of 140, including about 60 attorneys.
As for finding permanent office space in Richmond, Monday said the firm is working on lease negotiations for an undisclosed spot downtown.
They hope to be up and running there in November, she said.
Monday added that while technology makes it easier to stay in communication with clients, it’s hard to match the value of facetime that an actual office can offer.
“Even though we live in this digital age, that in-person presence is still an important part of a business relationship,” she said. “This essential element really has not changed.”