When Columbus was founded in 1828 as a trading post to bolster the western border of Georgia, it was the last frontier town of the original Thirteen Colonies. The frontier spirit that lingers may still offer inspiration to independent- minded lawyers to strike out on their own.
As a case in point, take the partners in Waldrep, Mullin & Callahan, who started their firm in 2006. They have some fun with their location at the street-level back door of the red brick building owned by the nationally known plaintiffs firm Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer.
"We thought some of their business might fall down here," says veteran divorce lawyer Joseph L. Waldrep.
"And we thought maybe some people would get lost and come in our door," jokes Neal Callahan.
"The location has helped," says C. Morris Mullin. "The truth is, there is business for us."
Mullin and Callahan were formerly defense lawyers with the oldest firm in town, Hatcher, Stubbs, Land, Hollis & Rothschild. They planned to create a plaintiffs' firm.
The new business has grown more than they planned. They've now added two more lawyers: Binford Minter and David Helmick.
But it didn't happen the way they expected, the partners say in a recent conversation.
"We've had negative forces working against our business plan," says Mullin. "But we've managed to grow despite that."