Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP started as an Atlanta tax firm
and has grown 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, 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 U.S.
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 Sutherland's tax practice by navigating clients through
New Deal legislation. The firm branched out early in its history,
opening a Washington, DC office in 1937 and becoming one of the
first national law firms. With the outbreak of World War II, only
two partners remained behind as a large number 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 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 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 parent company to Philip
Morris. The firm also has an active M&A department.
Looking into the Future
New associates are integrated during a two-day orientation
program and are assigned a formal mentor during their first
practicing year after joining the firm. The in-house training
program named SABLE (Sutherland Asbill Brennan Legal Education)
allows for lawyers and clients to take part in the substantive and
skills-based programs that the firm offers year-round. Sutherland
attorneys represent a diverse range of clients, including 61
Fortune 100 companies and 90 Fortune 200 companies. The firm's
energy practice has grown internationally adding offices in London