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Ernest Greer expands role at Greenberg Traurig law firm

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, April 26, 2013

Leadership changes at the Atlanta office of law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP will position Ernest Greer into an influential global role without him leaving town.

Greer has been promoted to vice president and is now among eight officers of the Miami-based firm with 1,750 lawyers in 36 offices. Six of those offices are overseas.

Greenberg Traurig has been one of Atlanta’s fastest-growing law firms. Partly because of the firm’s success in Atlanta, Greer will work with other team members on how they can better penetrate the business opportunities in their markets.

Greer now will share the managing duties of the Atlanta office with Ted Blum, who has been with the firm for 13 years. That will enable Greer to take on his new global responsibilities as well as fulfill his local civic roles. Most notably, Greer will be the 2014 chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the second African-American to serve in that role.

“Ernest has done a tremendous job,” said Matt Gorson, co-chairman of Greenberg Traurig, who most recently served as president of the firm. “He’s been involved with the growth of the Atlanta office. He’s been particularly strong in helping brand this office.”

Greenberg Traurig entered the Atlanta market in 1998 when it acquired the six-member entertainment law firm of Joel Katz. Today the firm has about 100 lawyers in the Atlanta office.

“The Atlanta office has matured dramatically in those 15 years,” said Gorson, who has been with the firm for 40 years.

In his new role, Greer said his focus will be broader and there will be more travel. He will have to cut back some of his civic roles, but Blum likely will be taking a more active role.

“Part of our mantra is service to the community,” Blum said. “We really try to be sincere about our involvement.”

Both Greer and Blum have served as co-managing shareowners of the Atlanta office in the past. But a couple of years ago, the firm decided that Blum should focus his time on their corporate clients during the difficult economic climate. Greer then was the sole head of the Atlanta office.

Blum said going back to having co-managers of the Atlanta office is a way to share responsibilities because managers continue to practice law.

“Ted and I have been around this track before,” Greer said. “We have been in law school together (Northwestern University School of Law). We are great friends. We will share the responsibility to make sure the office is successful.”

Greer already has been taking on more influential roles with Greenberg Traurig.

He’s on the firm’s 19-member executive committee. He and another attorney lead the U.S. Strategic Committee to help provide business focus and best practices for the firm.

Despite all those responsibilities, Greer said he would be continuing his day-to-day legal practice with his clients. He said that “the firm makes sure we have the resources we need.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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