Thompson Hine Continues Hiring Spree with 2 Laterals

Firm adds 'two fixtures in the Atlanta market'

, Daily Report


Peter Coffman, left, and Aaron Watson are the seventh and eighth laterals to join Thompson Hine's Atlantqa office this year.
Peter Coffman, left, and Aaron Watson are the seventh and eighth laterals to join Thompson Hine's Atlanta office this year.

Thompson Hine continues its growth push in Atlanta with the recruitment of two longtime Atlanta lawyers. Peter Coffman joined from Dow Lohnes as a partner and Aaron Watson joined from Barnes & Thornburg as senior counsel.

Coffman, a trial lawyer, was at Dow Lohnes for almost 17 years, after working for the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Division in the early 1990s. A major Dow Lohnes client, Cox Enterprises, sparked a shake-up in the firm's Atlanta office when it announced in June that it would continue using Dow Lohnes lawyers, but only if they moved to other firms. (The firm's Washington office announced in October that it is merging with Cooley, effective Jan. 1.)

Watson, a corporate lawyer, has been an Atlanta city councilman since 2010, serving as the Post 2 at-large member, but he just lost his seat in a hotly contested race to Mary Norwood, who gave up the post four years ago for an unsuccessful mayoral bid against Kasim Reed.

With the additions of Coffman and Watson, Thompson Hine has added eight laterals in Atlanta this year, giving the office 30 lawyers. "Both of these lawyers are fixtures in the Atlanta market and extremely well-regarded by peers and clients," said Thompson Hines' Atlanta partner-in-charge, Russ Rogers.

Even though the overall demand for corporate legal services remains sluggish, Rogers said Thompson Hine plans to keep adding to its Atlanta office and is seeing an uptick in demand. "We've gotten an increased share of a decreased market," he said, which he attributed to clients' perception that Thompson Hine offers good value.

"As long as our growth is strategic, we need to continue to expand in this environment. There are people who for one reason or another are looking for a different situation, so there are opportunities," Rogers said.

Coffman augments the office's litigation bench and Watson's corporate and government experience were a draw, Rogers said. "We're interested in the public-private intersection at the city, county and, to a lesser extent, state level—not lobbying but the transactions that occur at that intersection. Aaron has exceptional experience in that area."

Watson has also served as a commissioner for the Atlanta Housing Authority and on the Atlanta Board of Education. He was a board member of the Atlanta Development Authority (now Invest Atlanta) for a decade, from 1990 to 2000.

Right now, Watson said, he is focusing on his law practice.

A corporate finance lawyer, Watson has practiced law in Atlanta for almost 30 years, handling financing, acquisitions, dispositions and public-private partnerships. He declined to name clients but said they include a local, privately owned parking company and a bank-holding company headquartered outside the state.

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