Two Columbia law firms merge

Two Columbia law firms are joining forces.

Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte is merging with Robinson, McFadden and Moore. The merger will take place Jan. 1.

The new firm of Sowell, Gray, Robinson, Stepp & Laffitte will combine the individual firms’ strengths to focus on litigation, counseling, regulatory, corporate, financial services and bankruptcy law, according to a joint news release issued Monday by the firms.

The Sowell Gray defense litigation firm specializes in business and government. Robinson McFadden deals with other aspects of business law such as handling transactions and dealing with regulatory issues.

Robinson McFadden was formed in 1900 in Columbia and is the only law firm in South Carolina that is a member of Meritas, a global affiliation of commercial law firms, the release said.

“Our commitment to clients is stronger than ever,” said Kevin K. Bell, managing partner with Robinson McFadden, said in the release. “Being a trusted counselor, providing value and exceptional service, will continue to be our driving principle.”

Sowell Gray, headquartered in Columbia’s Vista, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, according to the release.

“We look forward to offering clients the synergies of our two firms, giving them deeper resources with enhanced responsiveness and efficiency,” Cal Watson, managing partner of Sowell Gray, said in the release.

The merger creates a firm of 30 attorneys. A new headquarters for the combined firm has yet to be determined, a spokesman said.