ATLANTA (July 9, 2012) –  Stephen A. Opler, a transactional attorney whose background in accounting, investment banking, and private equity gives him a uniquely valuable deal perspective, has joined Ballard Spahr as a partner, firm Chair Mark Stewart announced today.

Mr. Opler represents companies and private equity firms nationwide in mergers and acquisitions.  He joins the firm from Carlton Fields, where he was a shareholder. He was previously a partner with Alston & Bird.

“Stephen will provide a strong presence in the Southeast for our national Mergers & Acquisitions practice, with a special focus on private equity,” Mr. Stewart said. “He possesses the legal acumen and first-hand business knowledge that clients look for and that we view as the foundation of a first-rate M&A and private equity practice in the Southeast.”

Mr. Opler’s arrival is the latest development in the continuing expansion of the firm’s Atlanta office and of its transactional capabilities in the Southeast. Ballard Spahr opened the office in 2008, when it acquired the intellectual property firm Needle & Rosenberg. Since then, the office has grown to include 34 attorneys with experience in litigation, real estate, consumer financial services, public finance, and now mergers and acquisitions.

“I look forward to working with the talented team in Atlanta and helping the firm establish and grow a corporate practice here,” said Mr. Opler. “Atlanta is a competitive market. Ballard’s  national footprint, its culture, and its depth and breadth of business and finance and related resources and capabilities make a particularly good fit for me.” 

During his 26-year career, Mr. Opler has served as interim general counsel to an international private equity investor and was a co-founder of One Georgia Bank. As an attorney, he has represented clients in the broadcast, manufacturing, financial, and professional services industries in matters involving investments, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate issues.

Said Sumner C. Rosenberg, Managing Partner for Ballard Spahr’s Atlanta office: “Broadening the scope of our capabilities in the Southeast was a longstanding goal at the firm. Stephen’s arrival is an important step in that direction. We are delighted that he is joining the firm and know he’ll be a real asset to the firm and our clients.”

Mr. Opler is a member of Ballard Spahr’s Business and Finance Department and its M&A/Private Equity, Securities, and Transactional Finance Groups.