|Ellis Arnall||Sol Golden||Cleburne Gregory|
Arnall Golden & Gregory, LLP (AG&G) was founded in 1949 by Georgia's "boy governor," Ellis Arnall, his former Assistant State Attorney General, Cleburne Gregory, and the entrepreneurial corporate attorney, Sol Golden. Along with a staff of four, this trio set out to establish a firm singularly dedicated to client service. Today, the Firm numbers more than 100 attorneys, all dedicated to the philosophy of adhering to sound business practices designed to build strong client relationships.
In 1949 the City of Atlanta, then topping the half-million mark, enjoyed the effects of a post-war economic boom. It was the beginning of a new era for Georgia and the South, and for a small firm by the name of Arnall Golden & Gregory, LLP.
The founders of Arnall Golden & Gregory, LLP had already gained significant recognition prior to establishing the Firm. Ellis Arnall, Georgia's Governor between 1943 and 1947, was known for his trust-busting of the "northern railroad conspiracy," such as in the famous case Georgia v. Pennsylvania Railroad, which gave the South an equal opportunity to ship its products throughout the United States.
Sol Golden had practiced law for 23 years prior to joining the team of Arnall Golden & Gregory, LLP. He had developed a reputation as a skilled corporate attorney who initiated a number of innovative financing techniques for his clients. Sysco Corporation, the largest institutional food distributor in the U.S., National Linen Services (now National Service Industries), Friedman's Jewelers, Rich Products Corporation, and Capital Foods are just a few of the organizations that benefited by his legal advice over the years.
Cleburne Gregory, Jr., often described as a "lawyers' lawyer," was a law school debater who became a thorough practitioner. Known for his exhaustive knowledge about every aspect of a case and his incisive and effective cross-examinations, the dignified and soft-spoken Gregory was the perfect completion to an effective team. One of his most notable cases involved the Anaconda Aluminum Co. in a class action suit which Mr. Gregory successfully concluded after more than eight years of litigation.
The 1950's brought stunning growth for Atlanta and for the Firm. Atlanta began to move toward its new personality as an international city, rapid advancements were made in transportation and communication systems, and the first woman to serve on a federal grand jury was elected. In keeping with this growth, attorneys from Arnall Golden & Gregory, LLP were on the road serving a client base that was expanding nationally.
During the 60's, the Firm became heavily involved in the food industry, helping to establish industry trade associations and representing many food service businesses. In 1967, one of the largest of these, the National Frozen Food Distributors, Inc., now known as the National Frozen Food Association, Inc., saw its beginning with the aid of the Firm. Today, National Frozen Food Association remains a client of the Firm.
By 1969, AG&G celebrated its 20th anniversary with five times the number of its founding attorneys. It had expanded to offices in the Fulton Federal Building and had added a zip code to its address. In this same year, the Firm instituted the systematic recruitment of top-notch law school graduates. Today, Arnall Golden & Gregory, LLP actively recruits from the nation's leading law schools with more than 25 represented within the Firm.
With Atlanta's adoption of the Atlanta Braves in 1966, the Firm began representing sports personalities Joe Torre, Dennis Menke, and Phil Niekro. Financial services institutions, telecommunications providers and high-technology businesses meant expanding areas of practice.
The litigated case which drew the most notoriety for the Firm occurred during the 1970's when Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney Productions were sued in Georgia for negligence in causing injury to an 11-year-old who tried to duplicate a noisemaker he had seen while watching the Mickey Mouse Club on television. Walt Disney Productions had been a Firm client for years, so the firm came to Mickey's defense and won in the Supreme Court of Georgia where a ruling held that the Mickey Mouse Club could not be held responsible under the freedom of speech rights guaranteed in the First Amendment.
The "shopping center boom" of the late 60's to mid-70's gave way to the advent of "office parks" and to one of AG&G's fastest growing practices, real estate. Today, the Firm represents such domestic clients as Ackerman & Company, as well as such foreign clients as Hexalon Real Estate, Inc., a Dutch-owned real estate investment trust.
As if the 70's weren't memorable enough, the early 1970's also marked the advent of the Firm's healthcare practice with representation of The Georgia Health Care Association, a trade association representing over 200 nursing homes in Georgia, now known as the Georgia Nursing Home Association (GNHA). Through the experience gained representing the Association, the Firm attracted a number of publicly traded healthcare clients including American Medical International, Medical Care International, Health Images, Healthsouth Rehabilitation and Psychiatric Institute of America. Today, the Firm continues its representation of GNHA and many other healthcare providers. Attorneys in the Healthcare Practice Group serve as the editors of the Georgia Health Law Update.
In the 1980's, the Firm's corporate practice took a leading role in the merger, acquisition and financing of business. Public offerings included a $30 million common stock offering for Intermedics in 1981, a $36-million bond offering for the Lenbrook Square Foundation in 1982, and an $18-million common stock offering for Sysco in 1978. The Firm represented the National Distributing Company, the Dynatron-Bondo Corporation and others in going private transactions. In 1981 Arnall Golden & Gregory, LLP was retained as underwriters' counsel by Bache Halsey Stuart Shield Inc. for its public offerings in the Southeast, including an $11 million common stock offering for Healthdyne, Inc. In 1981, the Firm represented Robinson-Humphrey/American Express in a $19-million offering for Healthdyne.
Such rapid expansions created a need for new attorneys and new offices. The number of attorneys expanded by 40 percent between 1979 and 1984. In 1984 the Firm moved to 55 Park Place, followed by the opening of its office in Macon, Georgia. The Firm's satellite office in the outer perimeter of Atlanta, the Crown Pointe office, was launched in 1987, emphasizing corporate transactions, real estate, and commercial leasing. In 1994, to better serve the changing needs of its clients, the Firm moved to Midtown Atlanta, consolidating its downtown and Crown Pointe facilities.
In 1986, the Firm became a founding member of a new network of five U.S. law firms, called UNILAW. Today, the network numbers 10 independent firms, which share experience and resources in administrative, client service and practice development areas.
The '90's have also brought many changes to the Firm. The development of industry and legal specialty practice groups has enabled AG&G's attorneys to service clients in new and growing areas, such as environmental, employment, bankruptcy, estate planning and administration, food and drug, technology, franchising, media, municipal, patents and professional liability law. The attorneys have taken a preventive approach in many areas, to help clients deal with changing and increasingly complex laws. This is exemplified by the creation of new services, such as Employment Law Compliance Reviews and Intellectual Property Audits. AG&G's growth is paralleled by the growth of Atlanta, now considered a major international city, as evidenced by the recent Summer Olympics, which were held in Atlanta in 1996.
Just as the City of Atlanta has continued to change over the last 49 years, the Firm today bears little physical resemblance to the law practice which began in 1949. The importance of the personal relationship between lawyer and client has not changed. From the Firm's beginning in 1949, when our name partners advised entrepreneurs working to build the fledgling companies which today are some of the largest in the U.S., Arnall Golden & Gregory, LLP has been attuned, not only the particular needs of the business world, but also to the one-to-one relationships with clients and the commitment to excellence that Ellis Arnall, Sol Golden, and Cleburne Gregory, Jr. developed five decades ago.