The New Orleans-based Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre LLP will merge with Jackson, Miss., firm Watkins Ludlam Winters & Stennis P.A. on Jan. 1 to form one of the largest firms in the Gulf Coast.
The merger means that Jones Walker will now employ almost 400 attorneys across 15 locations in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Arizona and Washington D.C.
Jones Walker is one of several large New Orleans firms that is representing defendants in the massive multidistrict litigation involving the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion and BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The merger gives Jones Walker an immediate and significant presence in Mississippi.
Watkins Ludlam was founded in 1905 and counts Time Warner, Ochsner Hospital and several banks among its client base.
Watkins Ludlam also counts Mississippi governor William Winter as one of its partners.
This is the latest in a series of acquisitions made by Jones Walker in the past three years. In 2010, they expanded to Alabama by acquiring the Birmingham firm of Walston Walls & Birchall. In 2008, Jones Walker bought out Longman Russo in Lafayette, La.
Managing partner William Hines said that the firm is expected to expand even more in the next few years, eventually employing over 400 lawyers by 2013.