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It’s part corporate merger, part family reunion as two prominent Wilson law firms join forces and combine their offices under the banner of Farris & Thomas.
Thomas Law Attorneys and Farris & Farris, P.A., will consolidate effective Oct. 1, managing partners Allen Thomas and Bob Farris announced Monday. The new firm of Farris & Thomas will be based at the current Thomas Law office, 104 Nash St. N.
“It’s a much larger building and it’s got a large parking area in the rear as well as some in the front,” Bob Farris said. “With the number of offices that are available, it can accommodate everybody and then some.”
The firms’ leaders are cousins and trace their roots to Wilson County legal legend Robert Farris, who hung his shingle as a sole practitioner in 1948.
“When I finished law school back in 1961, I joined my uncle, and Bob’s dad, Robert Farris, in the practice of law here in Wilson and we became Farris & Thomas,” recalled Thomas.
Bob Farris joined his father and Allen Thomas in 1971, the attorneys explained in a joint news release, to form Farris, Thomas and Farris.
In 1982, Thomas and Charlie Pat Farris established Thomas and Farris, which became Thomas Law in 2015 when Charlie Pat rejoined his first cousin at Farris & Farris.
Thomas said the firms maintained strong ties and referred cases to each other, though attorneys represented their clients zealously when they found themselves on opposite sides of the courtroom.
“We had nothing but tremendous respect for their law firm, absolutely,” Thomas said. “Now, I knew and my lawyers knew that when we went into court and they were on the other side, they were going to get darn good representation on the other side, and I think both sides respected each other. I think we always put our clients first, but we had mutual respect in anything. I don’t know of a single time when there have been any hard feelings.”
The new Farris & Thomas firm will include attorneys Allen Thomas, Bob Farris, Albert Thomas, Julie Turner Williams, Eliot Smith, Tartt Thomas, Will Farris and Catherine Thomas Andrews. Longtime Farris and Farris attorney Brian Paxton plans to relocate part time to Atlanta and will maintain his affiliation with the firm through an “of counsel” designation.
Charlie Pat Farris has limited his practice to Social Security disability law and will operate independently.
Current clients of both firms will receive the same expert legal counsel and may benefit from Farris & Thomas’ greater resources, the principal attorneys said.
“We’ll still be there,” said Farris. “We’ll still be serving their needs — hopefully even better than in the past.”
“The type of law that Farris & Farris practiced was quite similar to ours and the talent in that office was superlative,” Thomas added. “You can’t get any better lawyers than Bob and Will and the rest of them there. I thought it’s tremendous backup for both sides. It’s something I thought would not only benefit our office but would allow us to better serve the people of this area.”
Thomas said the merger of legal heavyweights will make Farris & Thomas an exceptional firm.
“I’ve had time to evaluate and I just think that the lawyers we’ve got are as good as any you can find,” he said. “The good part about it is they know each other, they trust each other and the integrity is there.”
Farris & Thomas will carry on both firms’ storied legal legacies.
“This is a re-emergence, a return to where we all started,” Farris said in the news release. “My dad and Allen set a very high standard of service to Wilson and throughout our area many, many decades ago. The time is right for us to formally get back together as we work to provide quality representation for our clients.”
The Farris & Thomas office will feature a new logo and branding and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Both current firms’ phone numbers — 252-291-1000 and 252-243-3000 — will remain active.