McAfee & Taft acquires Eldridge Cooper Steichen & Leach, expands Tulsa office

Addition grows regional and national footprint, firm practice areas

October 1, 2011

McAfee & Taft, Oklahoma’s largest law firm, announced it has combined practices with Tulsa-based boutique litigation firm Eldridge Cooper Steichen & Leach (ECSL), expanding to more than 180 lawyers and bolstering its regional and national footprint.

“Joining forces with the exceptional talent at Eldridge Cooper Steichen & Leach is a win-win-win for McAfee & Taft, ECSL and our combined client base,” said Richard Nix, McAfee & Taft managing director. “When you look at their extensive courtroom experience and winning reputation, not to mention the fact that Fortune 100 companies trust them to lead their high-profile, high-stakes litigation, you can see why we wanted them on our team. It’s an excellent opportunity for both firms.”

The merger adds significant experience in a number of complementary practice areas, including commercial litigation and products liability defense.

Led by co-founders and senior partners Mary Quinn Cooper and William S. Leach, ECSL specializes in commercial litigation, products liability, class actions and complex civil litigation on a regional and national level for clients ranging from small privately owned companies and government entities to Fortune 100 companies. ECSL brings extensive appellate practice experience to McAfee & Taft, having handled and won a significant number of cases before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

“From a cultural standpoint, our joined firms are a great fit. We’re both known for our collegial, collaborative working environments, and we have tremendous respect for our McAfee & Taft colleagues, both personally and professionally,” said Cooper. “More importantly, from a client perspective, this move provides us direct access to even greater resources and a full complement of legal services that few firms can provide with such depth.”

McAfee & Taft is retaining all ECSL employees, which include 15 lawyers and 12 support personnel, effective Oct. 1. In addition to Cooper and Leach, attorneys joining the firm are Ruth J. Addison, Brita Haugland Cantrell, Ellen Cordell, Fred C. Cornish, Travis G. Cushman, Jessica L. Dickerson, Richard M. Eldridge, Andrew L. Richardson, Vani Singhal, Michael F. Smith, Thomas E. Steichen, Alison A. Verret and Harold C. Zuckerman.

Since initially opening in May 2008, McAfee & Taft’s Tulsa office has grown from its original staff of eight lawyers to 38 lawyers after the merger.

“Even before we opened our doors in Tulsa three years ago, we were committed to enhancing the firm in a very intentional, strategic way, as opposed to growing simply for growth’s sake,” added Nix. “Our expansion is aligned with the shifting needs of our clients and the changing marketplace.”