Hall Booth Smith (HBS) has announced the opening of its office in Tbilisi, Georgia, last week. Partnering with the Eristavi Law Group, HBS will be the first U.S. law firm in the country of Georgia. HBS's primary focus of practice will be in International Funding and Financing, International Arbitration and Meditation, Health Care Law, and Corporate Matters.
Mr. Matthew C. Allen of Atlanta, GA will be the Managing Attorney of the Tbilisi office. Mr. Allen has an extensive experience working with Georgian companies on international financing and corporate matters. HBS has strong ties to Georgia through working with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Georgian Supreme and Appellate Courts. Atlanta Partner, John E. Hall, Jr., presently serves as the Honorary Consul to Georgia. HBS currently represents several Georgian and American companies conducting business within Georgia.
Hall Booth Smith, P.C. is celebrating its 21st year providing the highest quality legal services to its clients. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, HBS maintains eight regional offices throughout the Southeast.
HBS was ranked as one of Atlanta's "Best Places to Work for 2010" by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
“We are very impressed with the attorneys at Eristavi Law Group both professionally and personally. We look forward to working with them as friends and colleagues,” says John John E. Hall, Jr., one of the founding partners of Hall Booth Smith, P.C.
John Hall specializes in the defense of high exposure cases, including medical malpractice, construction, commercial litigation, mass torts, transportation, and products liability. During his legal career, he has tried in excess of 100 cases to resolution. His expertise in high exposure birth trauma and catastrophic cases resulted in his being named National Counsel for several major insurance carriers throughout the Southeastern United States.
John Hall is the firm's primary contact and is a member of the Board of Directors of the USLAW Network, an organization of independent law firms with offices throughout the United States.
Mr. Hall has received several awards including: Super Lawyer for years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; Insurance Man of the Years; and he is listed in the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is also peer rated AV with Martindale Hubbell.
“Hall Booth Smith, P.C. is a strong firm with a history of excellence both nationally and internationally. We will bring that tradition and our expertise to any relationships with our trusted partners,” Hall told The FINANCIAL.
Q. Do you think that association with based company can attract more clients to Eristavi Law Group?
A. I hope that as we expand our capabilities and talents together with the Eristavi Law Group that we will have ever increasing future opportunities.
Q. In which countries are you already present?
A. Currently, Hall Booth Smith, P.C. is only in the US. We do, however, have an extensive international practice that includes Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. I am currently the chairman of the USLAW network, a group of over 5000 attorneys. We see USLAW as a part of our global strategy. We also have relationships with 20 other European firms through the Trans European Law Firm Alliance and hope one day to be the Georgia member of that group.
Q. Please compare Georgia and U.S. in terms of legal regulations.
A. US businesses are far more restrained by government regulations. Many times these regulations harm our competitiveness in areas such as manufacturing and agriculture. Georgia’s economic reforms and free market economy have created a tremendous opportunity for economic growth as well as making Georgia an increasingly attractive investment destination.
Q. You currently serve as Chairman of the Atlanta-Tbilisi Sister City Committee. Does it help you in your business with Georgia?
A. Besides being the Chairman of the Atlanta-Tbilisi Sister City Committee, I am also the chair of the USLAW network, honorary counsel to Georgia, and a member of the management of Hall Booth Smith, P.C.. Each of these organizations and positions contributes to the development of business opportunities in Georgia.
Q. In 2010 alone, HBS was ranked #17 of Atlanta’s Top 50 Law Firms. How difficult is it to be on top in Atlanta?
A. Atlanta is an amazingly competitive legal market as is all of the US. We currently have more than 100 attorneys and have experienced one of the fastest growth curves of Atlanta law firms over the last 10 years. We now have offices in eight U.S. cities including Charleston, South Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee. Our employees are an integral part of HBS’s success, and we take great pride in being the #1 ranked law firm in the Best Places to Work annual survey. We are proud of where we have come feom and are excited about where we are going.
Q. How often do you visit Georgia? What are your expectations of partnership with Eristavi Law Group?
A. I try to visit Georgia at least once a month. Matt Allen is a lawyer from our Atlanta office who has moved to Tbilisi to head our office there. We are excited to be able to partner with the Eristavi Group and extend their international practice with us. We also bring access to businesses and markets that will expand the opportunities available to both of our firms.
Q. Georgia is top ranked by World Bank in terms of Easy Doing Business. Please give your evaluation of Georgia’s legal system.
A. My experience thus far has been encouraging. I believe Georgia has made amazing strides since 2004 towards establishing a predictable legal system that is fair and just. We just co-sponsored a Health Care forum in Washington, D.C., that was conceived by the First Lady and Georgia's Ministry of Health. This type of exposure will continue to highlight Georgia's attractiveness to international businesses and investors.
Q. What does Super Lawyer mean for you?
A. I appreciate the recognition from my peers.
Q. Differently from Eristavi Law Group which type of law do you specialize in Georgia?
A. We will focus on international finance, international arbitration and mediation, Healthcare law, and corporate law in Georgia initially.
Q. What about tax disputes? How successful are you in this regard?
A. The Eristavi Law Group has a skilled team dealing with Georgian tax issues. HBS has several excellent partners that work on tax issues in the United States and internationally.
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