Cool Springs-based law firm Thompson Burton has announced the addition of Chris Rubino as an associate.
Rubino (pictured) will aid Thompson Burton partner Walt Burton in the firm’s commercial real estate practice group, according to a release.
Previously, Rubino served as an associate attorney at Jericho, New York-based firm SilvermanAcampora. His background involves both commercial litigation and transactional work. Specifically, Rubino has handled distressed debt transactions and large commercial real-estate deals.
“We’re very excited to welcome Chris to the firm,” Burton said in the release. “We’ve been looking for the right fit in this important practice area for six to nine months. When we met Chris, we knew he was perfect for our culture."
Rubino received his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 2012. During his time at St. John’s, he was the editor-in-chief of the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review and was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. Rubino also served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Robert E. Grossman in the Eastern District of New York. As a judicial intern, Rubino’s research and writing focused primarily on the validity mortgage note assignments and securitized mortgages.
Rubino earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, where he graduated cum laude in business economics.
Thompson Burton recently moved offices after having added numerous attorneys in 2014. The firm remains in growth mode, Burton said (read more here).
Belmont University will unveil today its professional education and corporate meeting facility in Cool Springs.
The facility is housed in a building located at 310 Billingsly Court in Franklin.
BU officials said in a release that the new Williamson County location will provide easily accessible classrooms for courses in Belmont’s adult degree, professional and continuing education programs, as well as event and meeting rental space for area businesses and organizations.
Belmont originally opened a satellite location in Cool Springs in 2002 on Seaboard Lane, allowing Williamson County residents and employees close access and opportune times to take classes through the university’s adult degree program.
Walt Burton is a partner and co-founder at Cool Springs-based law firm Thompson Burton PLLC. Burton, who focuses his practice on commercial real estate, is a co-founding member of the firm with Kevin Thompson.
With Thompson Burton preparing to move its offices in April (read more here), Post Managing Editor William Williams caught up with Burton for a brief chat.
You added multiple attorneys this year and are now planning to move in April 2015. What can you say about this flurry of activity?
We are extremely pleased with the growth of the law firm. We have a phenomenal team of lawyers and word is getting out. We're also listening to our clients who are continuing to ask for broader services and greater depth from the firm.
How many attorneys could you add in 2015?
We expect significant growth in 2015. Our new office space will have room for approximately 23 to 25 lawyers. We think we're just scratching the surface with this law firm model. Focus for 2015 will be on adding to our existing corporate and commercial real estate practice areas. We're also looking to provide more services in the intellectual property space.
Moving is potentially costly. Can you share the budget you have to cover the expenses of the move — everything from hiring a company to haul the heavy stuff to changing your letterhead and business cards? If not, what might be the single most costly element of the effort?
Outside of actually building out the new space and disruption to the business, I don't view the actual logistical costs of a move to be that great for us. If we were a traditional law firm with thousands of antiquated law books and reams of paper, my answer might be different.
Thompson Burton is home to 12 attorneys who, collectively, offer a fairly specific legal thrust (e.g., bankruptcy, credits rights, labor and commercial). The general definition of a “boutique law firm” is one (regardless of the number of attorneys) that focuses on no more than two or three areas. Though your lawyers do bring various practice areas to the table, in some respects I can see how some might perceive Thompson Burton has offering a “boutique-y” vibe. Perhaps you disagree. Your thoughts?
In our minds, boutique firms are singular in focus and deep subject matter experts. However, they’re limited if their clients have broader needs. We’re committed to carving out deep competencies in multiple areas of the law. This means we have to continually think bigger as a firm while empowering our lawyers to act on a more granular level. If someone were to focus on one of our partner’s sites, we’d certainly give off a "boutique" vibe because each partner focuses exclusively on their own niche. But overall, we see ourselves as a full-service corporate law firm with deep competencies in all of our practice areas.
Why Cool Springs for your offices?
Being in the commercial real estate industry, I've thought about this issue a lot over the last couple of years. In the old days, law firms needed to be downtown and close to the courthouse, banks, clients, etc., to operate effectively. We don't really view that as entirely relevant at this point in time given advances in technology and the increasing rarity of lawyers actually needing to appear in court. Our clients are located worldwide and most don't really care where our office is located. Also, much of the new business activity in the Nashville market is located in Brentwood and Cool Springs. We want to focus on this growth, where many of the start-ups don't have existing or long-standing legal relationships. Last, generally speaking, Class A office space is cheaper in Cool Springs, allowing us to lower overhead per lawyer and offer more generous compensation than firms paying higher rental costs. Many clients love convenience of free parking as well.
What is the average age of your attorneys? You clearly have a “young firm.”
The average age of the lawyers at our firm is late thirties to early forties. We view this as a huge benefit. We are intently focused on re-inventing law, and much of that change is based on the use of technology. Also, junior partner type lawyers within this age range tend to be the types of lawyers that bigger law firms overlook. They’re the lawyers building the client relationships on a day-to-day basis while probably not being compensated for it. We view them as our core target for growth. Those lawyers would keep more of their production and earn greater compensation at our firm. For instance, three or four lawyers that joined our firm last year from large law firms are making two to three times more money. At our firm, these lawyers would also control their own destiny by setting their own hourly rates and billing arrangements with clients.
Not related to the firm, but I have to ask. In June 2013, you wrote a guest column for Nashville Business Journal advocating for The Amp. With the bus rapid transit system as originally planned likely forever scrapped, what would you now like to see for mass transit for Nashville’s urban core?
As a commercial real estate lawyer and someone who lived in Atlanta for seven years, I wrote the column from the standpoint of its effect on commercial real estate development. I know there are differing viewpoints on this issue. I merely recognize that greater density and development downtown and along West End Avenue ultimately will start to have an adverse impact on quality of life. Whether it's the Amp or some other solution, mass transit is in Nashville's future.
Any other thoughts?
The practice of law has avoided disruption for centuries. We think those days are rapidly coming to an end. It’s time to rethink the business model and shift to a more transparent compensation system. When somebody earns without receiving, somebody receives without earning. In the old days, lawyers tended to join a law firm out of law school and then stay through retirement. Law firm compensation and leadership was very much based on seniority. We think compensation should be based on productivity. This model is not for everyone, but it attracts the high performers, which is good for us. We also believe in the importance of owning unique niche areas of the law. Information is a commodity these days. Good lawyers provide context for the content that’s already out there. In order to provide the context, lawyers need to dive deep into their areas. We give lawyers the tools and the strategies to get this done. Lastly, because our law firm is two to three years old, we aren't wedded to legacy technology, office and employment costs that weigh down older law firms. We see ourselves as lean and tech savvy with a view toward the future.
Colorado-based JumpStreet plans to open three indoor trampoline parks in Middle Tennessee between now and March. First up is RiverGate Mall, which will be followed by a spot in space previously leased by hhgregg near CoolSprings Galleria and a location on Old Fort Parkway in Murfreesboro. JumpStreet runs a dozen locations in Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Georgia.
SEE ALSO: Word of competitor Sky Zone's plans to open a park in Franklin
Knoxville-based restaurant group Connor Concepts has signed up to build a 7,500-square-foot steak and seafood eatery in the wing being added to the CoolSprings Galleria. The restaurant will be able to host 350 people at a time and be close to where The Cheesecake Factory recently opened its doors on the west side of the mall. From WilliamsonSource:
The project, set to be completed by winter of 2015, just in time for the busy Christmas shopping season, and will be a part of the mall’s redevelopment. The restaurant will be built on the south west side of the center.
SEE ALSO: More on the Galleria's partial redevelopment, which includes the addition of H&M and American Girl
Atlanta-based North American Properties is targeting a mid-February closing on the acquisition of Cool Springs property on which it plans to develop a 363-unit luxury apartment project.
Richard Munger, North American Properties, partner and vice president of development, said the company has the site under contract with owners Alan Revelette and Sunil Patel. Don Meeks, founder of Texas-based Meeks + Partners, previously had the site under contract but assigned his rights to acquire to NAP. If the project materializes, Meeks + Partners will be the architect of record, Munger said.
“This will be a quasi-urban development,” Munger (pictured at right) said, noting the project will offer structured parking (as opposed to the suburban model of surface lots) and some respectable building density. The development, for which a name has yet to be announced, will feature one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments and many of the amenities found at NAP’s eight-story 200-unit Park Central building located on 25th Avenue North in the West End corridor.
The Franklin Planning Commission has approved a rezoning of the six-acre site located on Nichol Mill Lane across from Academy Sports and next to Heritage Medical Associates. The Franklin Board of Alderman must now OK the rezoning on three readings. See the site — the large green space — here in an image courtesy of Google Maps.
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