Prominent Upstate NY Law Firms Combine
On January 1st, the Capital Region heralded the arrival of a new law firm.
E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, LLP has 14 lawyers, 12 staff members and three offices, in Troy, Saratoga and Latham. E. Stewart Jones and Jim Hacker started talking about joining forces about a year and half ago. Jones, who wanted to preserve his firm's legacy, said he had been approached in the past about merger possibilities, but didn't find the right fit. Until Hacker Murphy came along.
Jones' grandfather opened the family business in downtown Troy in 1898. His father and brother also practiced law there. Jones says it would be nearly impossible to start up a similar law practice today. " I think unless you have a brand name, a small firm is going to struggle greatly. I was trying very serious cases at a very early age both civilly and criminally thanks to both my father's generosity in allowing me that opportunity and his confidence in allowing me that opportunity... Most lawyers never get, not back then and certainly not now, to try significant civil and criminal cases at a very early age, which forced me to develop my skill set and work awfully hard."
Jones believes the timing for merger was right, historically, and he's confident it will ensure the firm has a place in the legal community and the Capital Region for years to come. Each firm has a history of trying some of the most prominent cases in the region’s history. Jim Hacker and E. Stewart Jones joined forces to represent the families of 20 individuals who perished following the sinking of the Ethan Allen on Lake George in 2005. And this year, E. Stewart Jones successfully defended former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, who was acquitted on federal fraud charges. 2 "Certainly, Senator Bruno's acquittal this past May was a major accomplishment, a major victory, and certainly attracted attention across the entire state of New York."
Chas Farcher, with another large area law firm Martin Harding and Mazzotti, says E. Stewart Jones has "a great reputation." "He's known if not by advertising, by word of mouth throughout the community, and that's what his firm and this firm work toward. Ideally, you handle a case for a client, you do a good job, and then their friends and family become clients and so on and so on throughout the six degrees of separation. In addition to that, you have the jingle, you have the marketing campaign, you use that stuff to get the calls in the door. But no matter how many calls you get in the door, if you don't do a great job once the calls come in... that's how you become known, and there's no amount of marketing I think you can do that will offset that. So it's getting the calls in the door, but it's also doing right by the client and handling the case. E. Stewart Jones has that reputation."
The merger of the Jones and Hacker Murphy law firms creates an entity with a combined 134-year track record of success in the Upstate New York legal community.