Local attorneys plant seeds for strategic growth
Sponsored by: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP

The people behind any successful company understand growth should be a strategic, not haphazard, process. Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is a great example of this, striving to hire the best lawyers and identify its niche to ensure the Firm continues to gain traction throughout the East Coast.

Formed in Columbia in 1897, Nelson Mullins now boasts more than 500 attorneys and has expanded beyond the midlands of South Carolina to establish a foot print stretching along the East Coast from Boston to Jacksonville, with offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, and New York City, to name a few. The Charleston office was founded in 1990 and is comprised of approximately 40 lawyers, including a team of nine transactional lawyers. The Charleston office is happy to welcome three recently hired, experienced lawyers to the fold: Jennifer Hoffman, Geiza Vargas-Vargas, and Shawn Willis.

Hoffman practices with the mergers and acquisitions team and joins the Firm from a Chicago-based hedge fund where she previously served as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer.

Vargas-Vargas most recently served as assistant dean at the Charleston School of Law and brings a wealth of corporate law and business experience, having previously practiced with a leading international law firm.

Willis brings thirteen years of private practice experience in other law firms and practices in the areas of corporate law, tax, commercial lending, commercial real estate, sustainable energy, and community associations.

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Hiring Hoffman and Vargas-Vargas is part of a strategic initiative to grow the Firm’s East Coast corporate practice focused on middle market companies, particularly private equity-backed portfolio companies. Their prior experiences bolster the Firm’s ability to provide investment management legal services to funds and outside general counsel services to portfolio companies. In addition, importing out-of-market legal talent to the Charleston office allows the Firm to deliver corporate legal services not typically available in a smaller market like Charleston and introduces its clients to out-of-market capital sources. For example, the Firm has represented multiple venture capital firms in its recent investments in growth companies headquartered in Charleston.

Willis joins the Firm’s already sizable commercial lending and commercial real estate practices, which consists of approximately 65 attorneys spread throughout the Firm’s footprint. Other recent initiatives of the Firm’s commercial lending and commercial real estate practices include opening a Nashville office anchored by a commercial real estate practice, opening a New York City office anchored by a commercial lending practice, and adding additional commercial lending and commercial real estate attorneys in its Atlanta office. Opening and expanding the offices in these markets has allowed the Firm to make introductions for its real estate clients to the white-hot Nashville real estate market, introduce Atlanta-based real estate development companies and funds to opportunities in Charleston, and obtain commercial lending legal work from New York City-based financial institutions.

Yet the growth is far from ceasing at this point; in fact, according to Jay Claypoole, a partner in the Charleston office, the Firm is in “growth mode for the foreseeable future.”
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