Sources have confirmed that the voting membership of the Miller & Martin law firm have selected James M. Haley IV as the firm’s new chairman/managing member.
Haley will succeed Melvin J. Malone, pictured, who has served in that capacity for the past two years.
Haley is a partner in the firm’s Chattanooga office and sources say the move might exacerbate tension already existing among the firm’s Nashville, Atlanta and Chattanooga offices — the genesis of which was Malone’s original appointment in 2009, said the sources, who asked to go unnamed.
There appear to be competing interests of a political nature at Miller & Martin. For years, the sources said, the Atlanta and Nashville offices have found themselves paired off against the Chattanooga office regarding various firm matters. It isn’t clear exactly why the angst exists, but it’s assumed that leadership selection and overall firm direction comprise part of the reason.
Malone will remain, apparently, as the firm’s chairman until Haley’s announcement is made or perhaps for a longer period. The assumption is that some amount of time is needed to make the transition, hence the reason for Malone’s continued presence in the role. A press release announcing the new chairman is imminent, the sources said.
Prior to his role with Miller & Martin, Malone served as deputy legal counsel to then-Gov. Don Sundquist before joining the Tennessee Regulatory Authority at its creation in 1996. He served the TRA until 2002. Malone is believed to be the first African American to serve as the manager of a large Tennessee law firm.
Changes are apparently afoot at Miller & Martin. In September, the firm recruited David Hetzel, a former consultant and former Arthur Andersen executive, to be its top administrative officer.
Hetzel is now the law firm’s executive director. In that role, he manages all of the firm’s administrative operations. Before this role, Hetzel worked with the Atlanta-based advisory firm, Kurt Salmon Associates, where he served as chief administrative officer.
Miller & Martin is home to about 200 attorneys.