McAfee & Taft has expanded its environmental and regulatory industry practice with the absorption of five attorneys from the Tulsa boutique law firm Joyce & Paul.
"We feel like it would be the best of both worlds to take advantage of the change in the regulatory climate and take advantage of their expertise," said McAfee Managing Director Richard D. Nix.
Joyce & Paul co-founders Robert J. Joyce and Chris A. Paul joined McAfee's Tulsa office along with their staff attorneys, Leanne G. Barlow, Chris K. Miller and David M. Winfrey.
"It was obviously difficult for us to take something we had grown for 10 years and join with another firm," Paul said Friday. "This is definitely the thing we wanted to do and these are the people we wanted to do it with."
That brings Oklahoma City-based McAfee & Taft to 20 lawyers in Tulsa, 153 statewide.
With the Tulsa office opened just 18 months ago, Nix said McAfee & Taft is well ahead of its five-year goal to employ 30 attorneys in Oklahoma's second-largest market. But he put more emphasis on the nature of that growth in this national recession.
"Nationally law firms have really been shrinking over the last 12 months," he said Friday. "We're fortunate that in our market, and the way that we're positioned, that we're continuing to grow."
Joyce & Paul ended operations with the merger, with the company's answering machine directing callers to McAfee & Taft's Tulsa office in Oneok Plaza. But Paul called it more of a joining.
"It was the right time with the right parties involved," said Paul, caught via cell phone while traveling Friday.
"Our firm was doing very well and their firm was doing very well," Paul said. "We had a practice area that they were interested in. They had the overall infrastructure to allow us to provide a broader range of services to our clients. This was just truly one of those things where we sat back and said this was a win-win for everyone."
Joyce & Paul served a wide variety of national and local clients, from AT&T, ConocoPhillips, Oneok, Sinclair and American Airlines to Arvest Bank, Bama Cos., Explorer Pipeline and Hilti.
Nix said that national reach will help McAfee spread its geographic presence in both new and existing markets.
"Bob and Chris are not only two of the best regulatory and environmental lawyers in the state, but they have a regional and national reputation and presence," he said. …