Looking out from the glass-walled conference room near the front lobby of Page Scrantom Sprouse Tucker & Ford's contemporary-styled offices, managing partner William Tucker explains the process in which the city of Columbus is partially opening up a dam in the Chattahoochee River to allow more white-water to flow through, setting the stage for completion of the most challenging urban rapids course in the country.
Later, he walks down a hallway to show a collection of client letters framed and lining the walls of a conference room. Historians consider the letters valuable, he says, because of the hand-written corrections of the writer, who refused to allow his secretary to retype them for just a few minor changes. The signature: Franklin D. Roosevelt. The dates correspond to the time the president lived in nearby Warm Springs. The letters refer to real estate sales and other investment transactions.
Past, present and future seem to live together in the firm's offices on the third floor of the building belonging to one of its biggest clients, Synovus Bank. Its roots go back more than a century. It's the biggest firm in town, with 35 lawyers who specialize in corporate law, tax, estate planning and a broad variety of litigation.
And lately it's been doing something that firms in larger cities might envy during the tough years of the recession. It's growing. The firm added two new associates last year and plans to add three more 2013 law school graduates.
An unabashed supporter of his native city, Tucker postulates young lawyers seem to have an increasing interest in coming to Columbus. He supposes the trend is related to the recession and the rigors of big firm life in Atlanta.
"This is clearly a less stressful environment for young lawyers," Tucker says, noting that his firm and others in Columbus don't have Atlanta's expectations for new associates to bill so many hours. But, he adds, "The quality of work available to lawyers is equally good."
Supporting big firm work in Columbus are "significant historically wealth-based communities," he says.
Synovus, the national banking company that grew from Columbus Bank & Trust, is an example. Another is the Synovus affiliate TSYS. Also Aflac, the national insurance company. Coca-Cola has roots in Columbus.
"There's a likelihood that someone can work in a meaningful way here," says Tucker. Page Scrantom provides a full array of legal services to corporate clients and individuals, and even some personal injury plaintiff's litigation.