Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice
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|Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP|
|Headquarters||Winston-Salem, North Carolina|
|No. of offices||14|
|No. of attorneys||approximately 530|
|No. of employees||1,100+|
|Key people||Keith W. Vaughan, Chairman; Terry Wiley, Executive director|
|Company type||Professional Liability Partnership|
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, established in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1876, is one of the largest business law firms in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. Currently, Womble Carlyle has 14 offices: Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, North Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston South Carolina; Tysons Corner, Virginia; Washington, DC; Wilmington, Delaware; and Silicon Valley, California. The firm’s growth has matched the economic growth and evolution of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.
As of 2003, the firm was the largest in North Carolina.
The firm traces its history to 1876, when Cyrus Watson and W.B. Glenn formed a partnership in Winston, North Carolina, under the name Watson & Glenn.
- In 1885, the firm name changed to Glenn & Glenn
- In 1891, the firm name changed to Glenn & Manley
- In 1898, the firm name changed to Glenn, Manley & Hendren
- In 1905, the firm name changed to Manly & Hendren
- In 1911, the firm name changed to Manly, Hendren & Womble
- In 1942, the firm name changed to Womble, Carlyle, Martin & Sandridge
- In 1954, the firm name changed to Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice
Irving E. Carlyle was a long-time resident of Winston-Salem, N.C. He was a trustee of Wake Forest University and coached the men's basketball team in its earliest years. Carlyle is one of the most notable civil rights attorneys in North Carolina history. Womble Carlyle was able to grow into one of the most successful law firms in North Carolina due to its proximity in Winston-Salem to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which used Womble Carlyle for its legal services.
Womble Carlyle began expanding outside Winston-Salem in the 1980s by establishing an office in Raleigh in 1982 and adding an office in Charlotte in 1984. The 1990s were marked by the firm’s early commitment to technology and further expansion into new cities by opening new offices and also merging with other law firms. By the end of the 1990s, Womble Carlyle had opened its Atlanta, Research Triangle Park, Washington D.C. and Greenville, South Carolina offices. The firm’s commitment to technology was recognized in 1999 when Red Herring (a weekly magazine focused on the business of funding, building, and taking new technologies to market), recognized Womble Carlyle as one of the most progressive law firms in the country due to its commitment to technology. Since 2000, the firm added offices in Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Wilmington and Baltimore.
Womble Carlyle now has more than 550 lawyers and 1200 staff located in fourteen offices.  Its attorneys and professionals provide a full range of legal services to regional, national and international businesses and other clients in a wide range of industries. Lawyers at Womble Carlyle include former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, and former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell.
Womble Carlyle is a member of Lex Mundi, a global organization of independent law firms.
In December 2008 the firm informed its staff that it would freeze attorney salaries for the first half of 2009, and in April 2009 it was reported that salaries for associate attorneys and paralegal staff were being cut an average of 10 percent. Observers speculated that the firm's legal business had declined due to heavy losses in the banking industry concentrated in Charlotte.
In Fall 2011, Womble Carlyle opened an office in Cupertino, California in the Silicon Valley.
Effective April 30, 2011, Womble Carlyle merged with Buist Moore Smythe McGee, P.A., a 44-lawyer Charleston, South Carolina law firm, creating the largest law firm in both North and South Carolina. Buist Moore Smythe McGee P.A. lawyers are known for their advocacy on behalf of corporations, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and other business associations in all aspects of commercial activity.
In February 2012, the Firm merged with Hall and Bowers, LLC and established the firm's office in Columbia, SC.
Honors and awards
- 2003 recipient of Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund's Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of the firm's commitment to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, its 45 member institutions and the students educated at those schools.
- Womble Carlyle is included in the AmLaw 100 Survey and is ranked by The American Lawyer as being among the 100 leading firms in the United States and was ranked number 67 in the 2005 survey.
Womble Carlyle represents many nationally and internationally known corporations, businesses and foundations in industries that include manufacturing, transportation and energy, financial services, insurance, health care, education and technology including:
- Armstrong World Industries
- Bank of America
- Bayer CropScience
- Blackwater Worldwide
- Childress Klein Properties
- Collins & Aikman Floorcoverings, Inc.
- Dell Inc.
- Mustafar Enterprises
- Thomas Built Buses, Inc.
- Thomasville Furniture Industries, Inc.
- UNC Hospitals
- Wachovia Bank
- Wake Forest University
- Firm overview
- Firm management
- Burrough, Bryan (2003). Barbarians at the Gate. HarperCollins. p. 40.
- Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, FundingUniverse.com website, accessed January 24, 2010
- History of Womble Carlyle, Womble Carlyle website, accessed January 24, 2010
- "Organizational Profile of Womble Carlyle Sandridge Rice PLLC". The National Law Review. April 5, 2013.
- Nationwide Pay Freeze Watch: Womble Carlyle Bows to Southeast Economy, Above the Law, December 12, 2008
- Martha Neil, BigLaw ‘Has Changed Forever,’ Says Womble Carlyle, Cutting Pay 10 Percent, ABA Journal, April 13, 2009
- National Law Journal 250
- Representative Clients, Womble Carlyle website, accessed January 24, 2010