UPDATED 11:44 A.M. with Bass Berry comments.
Entertainment lawyers Mike Milom, Robin Mitchell Joyce, Chris Horsnell and David Crow are leaving Bass Berry & Sims to form a new law firm bearing their names and quartered on West End.
The prominent quartet leaves the Music Row offices they created for Bass six years ago in space that was previously the Row home of the group's former firms — Wyatt Tarrant & Combs and Gilbert & Milom.
Milom told NashvillePost.com this morning the move had been under discussion with Bass Berry management "a long time" and "they've been really supportive."
Bass Berry management was not immediately available to speak when NashvillePost.com contacted the firm, but staff promised a response.
Update 11:44 A.M. – Bass Berry Managing Partner Keith Simmons told NashvillePost.com this morning he sees Mike Milom as "absolutely the dean of Music Row lawyers" and the team as the best entertainment lawyers outside New York City. Simmons said he believes the two firms will often be working together.
Milom explained, "This is the first time since Gilbert & Milom that we have not been part of a very large law firm and it's going to be a new adventure for us... We are excited."
The group's online information indicates that clients include Publishing Group of America, DreamWorks SKG, Arista, Interscope, Crysalis, RCA Records, and Skaggs Family Records, among many others.
In separate conversations this morning, Milom, Joyce and Crow each told NashvillePost.com they expect to continue to work closely with Bass Berry attorneys on specialized assignments. Milom cited labor and employment law, estate planning and some aspects of technology as examples. A call to Horsnell has not yet been returned.
Joyce explained this morning that Milom, Horsnell and she have lawyered together more than 20 years, beginning at Gilbert & Milom. Crow joined the group while it was nested within Wyatt, about seven years ago. Crow is also a former student of Milom and Joyce, who have been adjunct professors teaching about the music business at Belmont and Vanderbilt.
Joyce made clear the firm's interest in establishing a brand-identity for itself that will communicate to global and national audiences its expertise in intellectual property, content, technology, media and multinational law.
She said the group-cum-firm now has "traction" that can best be leveraged in a focused, agile firm that markets aggressively in its niche.
This morning's interviews illuminated a common challenge associated with promoting specialized units within larger organizations:
A specialized line of business aiming for high growth rates in a sector characterized by rapid change — as is the case in the digitally disrupted entertainment and media industries — often needs nontraditional organizational structure, more entrepreneurial compensation arrangements and greater visibility gained through intense marketing and reputation-management efforts.
Specialists usually must also focus their energies on sharply defined markets and influentials. Larger, more institutional companies meanwhile need more broadly based business-development and brand-management programs.
The group's Director-Administration Lynn Richmond will make the move, also.
Milom said decisions regarding additional partners and associates will be addressed "intentionally," after the group's move to 3310 West End Avenue, Suite 610. Milom, Joyce, Horsnell and Crow PLC retains the local number 255-6161 that the group has controlled many years.