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Johnson Pope brings longtime St. Petersburg real estate law firm into fold

Powell, Carney, Maller will merge their business into the much larger Tampa Bay practice.
Powell, Carney, Maller will merge their law firm with Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel and Burns, whose St. Petersburg office is located at 490 First Ave. S.
Powell, Carney, Maller will merge their law firm with Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel and Burns, whose St. Petersburg office is located at 490 First Ave. S. [ Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel and Burns ]
Published May 3

Tampa Bay law firm Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel and Burns is expanding.

The firm has brought Powell, Carney, Maller, a boutique firm specializing in real estate, under its umbrella. The smaller firm led by James Powell, Mary Jo Carney and Karen Maller has practiced in St. Petersburg for 30 years, and will operate out of Johnson Pope’s office at 490 First Ave. S.

Johnson Pope managing partner Guy Burns said they’ve been in talks to bring in Powell, Carney, Maller for about a year. It fits the mold of the firms Johnson Pope has targeted for expansion in recent years: experienced attorneys who want to broaden their client services through the support of younger staff.

“We’ve married our bench strength and our capability with people who are wanting to have more bench strength and capability at that point of their careers,” Burns said. “We’re very happy to have them. We think that they’re a great fit for us.”

Johnson Pope has 85 attorneys working in offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. The merger will boost Johnson Pope’s business with community and housing associations, Burns said. The two companies already share some clients, including commercial development and management firm the Sembler Co.

“We have some clients that use us on odd-numbered deals and them on even-numbered deals, so it was, on the real estate side, very synergistic,” Burns said.

Burns said this likely won’t be Johnson Pope’s final merger this year.

“We have not ever set a number that we’re trying to reach,” he said. “But what we have always done is to keep our eyes open for strategic alliances and acquisitions that we think round us out and make us stronger. ... We think some other people in the market who are small and very strong and respected law firms, we may be adding to the fold.”