Law firms, Ernest Greer believes, often get left out of the business rankings. “Historically, people have seen them as firms but not big business,” he said. “Maybe that’s because we don’t deliver accounting or technical services; we deliver legal services. Being recognized as a ‘most admired’ CEO is a pleasant surprise that means the marketplace now recognizes that we have the same issues around hiring people, margins, revenue issues and the like.”
In the 15 years Greer has been with the Atlanta office of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig, he’s been a catalyst for turning a small firm into a major business with about 280 employees — a remarkable growth track for a firm that moved into Atlanta in 1998 by acquiring a six-member entertainment law firm (that had been led by Joel Katz). For the last eight years, he’s led the office as the co-managing shareholder.
“One of the things people appreciate about me is that I took over a much smaller office and grew it to be one of our larger offices,” Greer said. “But at the same time, I’ve been very active in the community while maintaining my own practice.”