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The law firm of Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC is ramping up its presence in Austin by acquiring a local boutique insurance law firm.

Mitchell Williams, a Little Rock, Ark.-based full-service firm, has taken all five attorneys from longtime Austin firm Long Burner Parks & DeLargy PC to grow its Austin office.

The Austin office of Mitchell Williams was opened by Bill Bingham, who died unexpectedly last December after opening the office a year ago, says Harry Hamlin, managing partner at Mitchell Williams.

Hamlin says the Austin office will likely add three more attorneys by year's end, and grow to about 15 attorneys within three years.

The 50-year old firm has 60 attorneys in its Little Rock office and eight attorneys in a Rogers, Ark., office.

"Initially, we want at least a lateral litigator and lateral transactional attorney. We have immediate needs for those," says Hamlin. "And if it turns out two or three want to come as a group, we'd definitely look at that."

The firm leases space on the ninth floor of the Littlefield Building at Sixth Street and Congress Avenue.

"We had identified Texas because we have a lot of clients with business interests in Texas," says Hamlin.

Those clients include real estate companies, regional banks and insurance companies.

"Texas was logical -- it was just a question of where in Texas," he adds.

Hamlin says the Austin move was based on the firm's steady work for insurance companies, with attorneys regularly representing clients before the Department of Insurance and other state agencies.

The move is also part of a firm-wide initiative to grow in the southern region, Hamlin says.

"This is the first time our firm has gone to another market and brought on this many attorneys," says Hamlin. "We are looking at other [nationwide] markets to do the same thing--smaller groups of attorneys that complement the work we are already doing."

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