Economic Development

Fueling Growth in the South

Burr & Forman is the leading law firm for economic development in the Southeast. Our Economic Development practice started when Lee Thuston served as Alabama Counsel for the negotiations that brought Mercedes-Benz to Alabama in 1993. Since that time, Lee and Warren Matthews have represented new economic development projects and expansions that have brought over $16 billion of capital investment and the creation of more than 25,000 new jobs to the Southeast. We have an established multidisciplinary team of lawyers dedicated to the start-up of economic development projects. Practice areas of our economic development team include:

Site Selection

We have extensive experience assisting clients with multi-state and intra-state site evaluation and location. We maintain close working relationships with professional site consultants and are a natural compliment to their services. We have worked as part of the site selection project teams for projects such as the Mercedes-Benz plant located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, KIA Motors plant located in West Point, Georgia, the ThyssenKrupp Steel mills located in Mobile County, Alabama, and the Jack Daniel Cooperage project located in Lawrence County, Alabama.

Incentive Negotiation

One of the strengths of the practice group is our hands-on experience with negotiating incentives packages for economic development clients. One benefit is that when we negotiate an incentives package, our loyalties are not compromised given that we represent the prospective business and not the state or local governments or utilities. We have served as company counsel on a large number of the significant incentives packages negotiated in the Southeast. In addition to the projects listed above, we have assisted existing clients with the negotiation of incentives packages for major plant expansions.

Incentive Implementation

An often-overlooked but critical part of an economic development project is the incentive implementation process. A significant amount of time is often required to ensure that the incentives offered by the state and local governments and utilities are delivered in a satisfactory manner that meets the company’s schedule.

Choice of Entity and Tax Structure

Our business and tax attorneys provide guidance to the start-up company for issues relating to choice of business entity, corporate governance and tax structures.


Our Construction group possesses extensive experience representing owners from start-to-finish with all aspects of their construction needs in economic development projects. This involves negotiating project manager/general contractor agreements, overseeing the bidding process, negotiation of contractor packages, resolving claims, change order, and pay request disputes. We have developed and implemented extensive claims management processes for large economic development projects.

Real Estate

Our real estate attorneys have extensive experience in working through title, survey, and other due diligence issues which impact the automotive industry, including negotiating easements and other agreements with railroads, leases and licenses with on-site and off-site automotive suppliers and warehouses, and lease-purchase agreements with governmental entities.

Environmental Permitting

Our Environmental group advises and assists clients on matters relating to permit requirements and related regulatory compliance. This involves identification of environmental regulatory issues, identification of relevant sequence of permits where applicable, negotiation with regulatory officials as to content and timing of permits, and advice on compliance with related regulatory obligations. Where necessary we represent clients in any challenges by third parties to environmental permits. We also frequently assist clients in identifying consultants and coordinating and reviewing their work to assure that it meets local environmental requirements and time limits.

Infrastructure Contract Negotiation

We have extensive experience negotiating infrastructure contracts with the providers of electricity, natural gas, water and sewer, and telecommunications services.

Government Relations

While we do not represent any state and local governments or public utilities, we have established a solid working relationship with them over the years. We often act as a conduit between our clients and state and local governments and public utilities.

Our Attorneys

Kathryn Bouchillon
Partner ~ Atlanta, Georgia|
(404) 685-4280
(404) 214-7383
C. William Daniels, Jr.
Partner ~ Mobile, Alabama|
(251) 345-8236
(251) 344-9696
Ronald Farley
Partner ~ Birmingham, Alabama|
(205) 458-5185
(205) 244-5633
Richard Fishman
Counsel ~ Atlanta, Georgia|
(404) 685-4307
(404) 214-7389
Eric Hatten
Partner ~ Jackson, Mississippi|
(601) 709-3442
(866) 443-1581
Warren Matthews
Partner ~ Montgomery, Alabama|
(334) 241-7000
(334) 262-0020
Norman Orr
Partner ~ Birmingham, Alabama|
(205) 458-5142
(205) 224-9453
William Thuston
Managing Partner ~ Birmingham, Alabama|
(205) 458-5143
(205) 244-5712
Brian Watson
Counsel ~ Orlando, Florida|
(407) 540-6629
(321) 249-0529

Experience Matters

Brief sentence defining representative matters.

  • Landfill Operation

    Represented venture capital group in acquisition and operation of solid waste landfill and coal mine.
  • Secure Groundwater Drinking Supply

    Advocated to secure groundwater drinking supply for municipality.
  • Gas Pipeline Use Agreements

    Negotiated gas pipeline use agreements.
  • Privatization of Sewer Services

    Advised client regarding privatization of sewer services for development project.
  • Asset Purchase Agreements

    Coordinated due diligence, negotiated asset purchase agreements for large-portfolio companies.