Balch & Bingham’s history began in 1920, when Judge William Logan Martin, Jr., hung his shingle in Birmingham, Alabama. Martin, a graduate of the United States Military Academy and the University of Alabama’s School of Law, could, at the time, already count World War I military service, a term as Alabama’s Attorney General, and time as a circuit court judge among his accomplishments.
Upon his arrival in the New South metropolis of Birmingham, “Judge Martin” turned his attention to his private law practice – one that focused primarily, at the time, on the legal affairs of Alabama Power Company, where Martin’s older brother Thomas served as the company’s president and general counsel. Two years later, Martin partnered with J. Fritz Thompson and Perry W. Turner, thereby creating the firm Martin, Thompson and Turner. It was a modest partnership to which Balch & Bingham – today, a Southeastern law firm with offices in Georgia, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C. – traces its roots.
As the years passed, the name of the firm changed with the passage of partners, but Judge Martin remained a stalwart constant for nearly four decades until his death in 1959. During Martin’s tenure, the firm’s work ranged from assisting Alabama Power Company with its development of massive hydropower projects to arguing some of the most important Constitutional questions of the New Deal era before Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Economic growth in Alabama during and after World War II brought the firm the opportunity for more work for more clients, as did Alabama’s role in the Southeast’s subsequent “Sunbelt” boom. Responding to such opportunities, the firm opened offices in Montgomery, and in 1991, in Washington, D.C. Further expansion came in 2001 when Balch & Bingham merged with the venerable Mississippi law firm of Eaton and Cottrell. Two years later, the firm turned its attention east, merging with Atlanta’s Meadows, Ichter & Bowers to establish a still-growing presence in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, the firm that began eight decades ago with a lone lawyer in a small downtown office is home to over 250 attorneys.