For years, E. Stewart Jones, Jr. has gotten proposals to merge his family’s 116-year-old law firm to no avail. But now, Jones joins Hacker Murphy, LLP to ensure a legacy is not forgotten.
As of January 2015, Jones and James Hacker officially merged their law firms, becoming E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, LLP. While Jones, a defense attorney, received numerous proposals to merge with other firms, he and Hacker, both specializing in commercial litigation, decided to join names in order to better cover several areas of the law.
The merger has been discussed between the two firms for a while now before Jones and Hacker agreed that now was the most ideal time.
“I have thought about this for some time but have never taken any action. I always wondered what would happen when I was no longer practicing in the law,” Jones said. He said firms with narrow practices are struggling, but he felt his family’s firm was an exception since it has been in business, and has had success, for over a century.
“When I draw my last breath as a trial lawyer, this firm would have vanished. I owe that to my grandfather and father to ensure it would not be gone. This is a wonderful opportunity,” said Jones.
Jones and Hacker have worked together on several cases. Both lawyers had clients from the 2005 Ethan Allen tour boat incident in Lake George, where the boat capsized, killing 20 passengers.
Hacker said the transition was natural after having worked together on cases, and knowing the quality of work each law firm has in the courtroom.
David R. Murphy, Hacker’s partner, also took part in the merger. Jones said beneath him, he had two young lawyers interested in a broader law practice. The merger allows the law firm to share staff and resources.
Jones’ firm has offices in Latham, Troy and Saratoga, covering areas from Poughkeepsie and north, with Hacker Murphy covering areas across New York. The merged firms will continue running those offices, but now with the added advantage of being able to serve more clients.
“It’s only been three weeks, but we received a tremendous influx of calls expressing interest where I don’t think either of us would have calls,” said Jones. “We have taken a number of calls in areas where we don’t practice where we would have sent those clients to another firm. Now, we refer them over to Jim’s office. “
With the amount of people now in the merged firm, cases can be managed more efficiently and quickly, especially than in a smaller firm, Jones said.
“Our long term goal is legal excellence. Expanding our practice and enjoying the practice of the law. That’s a shared goal,” said Hacker. “(Hacker Murphy) has been together for years. We have grown slowly and have always been concerned with quality, and with the idea if we produce the quality of work, clients will come. Stewart Jones has a reputation. “