Baker Donelson Names Mark A.B. Carlson to New Role of Chief Growth Officer

by Savoy Staff

Baker Donelson has named Mark A.B. Carlson as the Firm’s chief growth officer, a new position created to focus on lateral attorney recruiting, acquisition and integration. This role is responsible for structuring and executing lateral attorney recruitment across Baker Donelson, as well as reviewing and vetting law firm merger candidates.

Mr. Carlson, a former general counsel, mergers and acquisitions practice group leader, and operations director, has been deeply involved in the Firm’s recent growth, chairing an internal task force focused on increasing lateral growth. Under Mr. Carlson’s leadership, Baker Donelson has experienced a significant influx of lateral hires in 2021, including more than 25 shareholders and of counsel across its existing footprint and the expansion into a new market with the addition of a team of six North Carolina health care attorneys.

Timothy M. Lupinacci, the Firm’s chair and chief executive officer, said, “We created this new position because recruiting and retaining top legal talent is essential to our ability to deliver exceptional client service. I knew that we needed a focused senior executive to execute our strategic growth vision that’s built on serving each client as a trusted advisor. After conducting a national search, it was clear that Mark was the perfect fit. He has a long track record of serving as a trusted advisor to our clients and has been instrumental in our lateral growth efforts over the past two years. The success that we have seen from those efforts displays the importance of this role and is a testament to Mark’s talents. With his experience, leadership and vision, we anticipate adding many more outstanding attorneys to our ranks.”

Mr. Carlson joined Baker Donelson in 2004 as a corporate finance and securities associate in the Memphis office. Elected shareholder in 2007, he focused his practice on structuring, negotiating and executing middle market M&A deals, joint ventures and other business combinations, as well as general business transactions. In 2008, Mr. Carlson was named leader of the Firm’s Corporate/Mergers and Acquisitions Group, and later that year he relocated to the Firm’s Atlanta office, where he is currently based. After leaving Baker Donelson in 2015 to become general counsel for an Atlanta-based technology manufacturer, he returned in 2016 to serve as the Firm’s Business Department operations director. In that role, Mr. Carlson focused on the business of law, growth, alternative pricing and profitability within the department, which encompasses four practice groups – corporate, intellectual property, real estate and tax – and includes 200 lawyers across Baker Donelson’s 22 offices in AlabamaFloridaGeorgiaLouisianaMarylandMississippiNorth CarolinaSouth CarolinaTennesseeTexas and Washington, D.C.

“I’ve spent the majority of my professional life at Baker Donelson in a number of different roles, so I clearly believe that this Firm has a lot to offer and is a great place to practice and grow,” said Mr. Carlson. “What’s exciting about this new role is that it allows me to share my passion for the Firm while helping legal professionals find their career paths and match their talents with our clients’ needs. It’s a tremendous opportunity, and I look forward to spearheading our continued growth.”

As chief growth officer, Mr. Carlson will oversee all aspects of lateral attorney recruiting, acquisition, integration and ensuring talent growth strategies are aligned with the Firm’s strategic vision. He will work with the Firm’s leaders to identify potential law firm mergers, acquire small groups of partners from other firms and prioritize individual lawyer recruitment in Baker Donelson’s Centers of Excellence. He will also work with the Firm’s recruiting team on entry-level attorneys and summer associate hiring.

Among Mr. Carlson’s priorities will be strategically recruiting diverse attorneys in alignment with Baker Donelson’s participation as a Mansfield Rule Certified Plus firm and in support of the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Compact, a multi-year plan to drastically increase its number of diverse attorneys. As a member of the D&I Compact Advisory Board, Mr. Carlson was involved in the Compact’s development and implementation.

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