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Balch & Bingham Names Leo Manuel and Chris Waddell Office Managing Partners in Gulfport and Jackson, Mississippi

Balch & Bingham is pleased to announce that Energy Partner Leo Manuel and Public Finance Partner Chris Waddell have been named office managing partners responsible for the Gulfport and Jackson, Mississippi offices, respectively.

“Leo and Chris are talented lawyers and leaders who have helped shape our growing Mississippi offices over the past decade. As their predecessors Ricky Cox and Tara Ellis take on new leadership roles at the firm, I appreciate the willingness of Leo and Chris to take on greater leadership responsibilities. Leadership succession is an essential part of sustaining our client service and continuing to grow and develop our law practice,” said Stan Blanton, managing partner. 

Leo Manuel joined the firm in 2005 and has more than 15 years of experience representing a wide range of businesses in the areas of commercial litigation and transactions, renewable energy development, public utility regulation, economic development and general corporate governance.  He is an active member of the Gulf Coast Business Council and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, and an alumnus of both the Mississippi Economic Council Leadership Mississippi Class and the Gulf Coast Chamber Leadership Gulf Coast Class. This year he was named by The Best Lawyers in America as “Lawyer of the Year” for Energy Law in Gulfport and has been recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in energy and natural resources since 2019. In addition, he serves as chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. 

Balch’s Gulfport Office, which opened in 2001, includes 26 attorneys who provide counsel to clients across a broad range of practices including commercial litigation, energy, environmental and natural resources, real estate and public utility law. 

Chris Waddell joined Balch in 2001 and has more than 20 years of experience representing private lenders, developers, local governments and quasi-governmental entities on affordable housing, economic development and public finance matters. He is recognized as a leading attorney by The Best Lawyers in America, a designation he has held since 2013.

The firm’s Jackson Office, which opened in 2001, includes 27 attorneys who are recognized for their key strengths in commercial and government litigation, healthcare, gaming, telecommunications, energy, technology and government, as well for their support of emerging businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Mississippi, the Southeast and nationwide.

The firm’s Mississippi attorneys serve in leadership roles in many Mississippi-based trade and professional organizations. Chambers USA has recognized the firm’s Mississippi offices for its Labor and Employment, Real Estate, Energy and Environmental and Natural Resources Practices. Committed to supporting the needs of our communities, our Mississippi attorneys deliver ongoing pro bono counsel through their partnerships with the Mississippi Center for Justice and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project.