Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP started as an Atlanta tax
firm growing its presence to include offices in London, Geneva,
Washington, DC, New York, Houston, Austin and Sacramento. The
firm has embraced a wide array of practice areas, covering
corporate, energy and environmental, financial services, insurance,
intellectual property, litigation, real estate and tax law.
Tax Men and Soldiers
In 1924, William Sutherland, a former clerk to Supreme Court
Justice Louis Brandeis, launched a tax specialty firm in Atlanta
with fellow attorney Elbert Tuttle. Later, Tuttle helmed the firm's
pro bono counsel efforts in Johnston v. Zerbst, the
Supreme Court case that helped establish the right to counsel for
indigent criminal defendants. In his post-Sutherland days, Tuttle
also served as an appellate court judge and was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter.
Firm namesake Joseph Brennan, who joined the firm in 1928,
expanded its tax practice by navigating clients through New Deal
legislation. The firm branched out early in its history, opening a
Washington, DC office in 1937. (The DC office is right on
Pennsylvania Avenue, and the firm's attorneys have been known to
sleep over at the office to escape navigating inaugural day
messes.) With the outbreak of World War II, a portion of the firm's
staff left to fight overseas, several returning as decorated
soldiers. After the war, Sutherland branched into real estate,
insurance, education litigation and corporate law with the help of
Mac Asbill, who joined the firm in 1949.
In the next few decades, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan built
departments in financial services, technology and energy, notably
representing Northwest Pipeline Corporation in its bid to build the
Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline in the 1970s.
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan has continued its tax work,
taking on wealthy textile mogul John D. Hollingsworth as a client.
Former partner Margaret Richardson was tapped by President Bill
Clinton to head the IRS, and the firm serves as tax counsel for the
Altria Group, parent company to Phillip Morris. The firm also has
an active M&A department.
Looking into the Future
Sutherland attorneys represent a diverse range of clients,
including 61 Fortune 100 companies and 90 Fortune 200 companies.
The firm's Energy practice had an international growth spurt adding
offices in London and Geneva.