PORTLAND, Maine — Eaton Peabody, a law firm with roots in Bangor stretching back 96 years, celebrated the opening of its Portland office Tuesday evening.
The event, held in the Ocean Gateway cruise ship terminal, provided the firm its first chance to thank friends and clients in the Portland area, according to David Austin, the firm’s managing partner.
Roughly 160 people attended the event, including familiar faces from the Bangor and Portland business communities such as Mark Vogelzang, CEO of the Maine Public Broadcasting Corp., and Steve Rich, CEO of WBRC Architects/Engineers, which also is based in Bangor and has an office in Portland. Guests rubbed elbows while taking in a 180-degree view of the harbor as piano music played in the background.
Expanding into a competitive Portland market was a natural for the firm, Austin said Tuesday evening.
“We have a long tradition of serving clients in this marketplace, so it made sense for that reason,” he said. “We also have a long tradition of serving clients in Bangor and throughout the state who are expanding into this marketplace. We want to match their consulting and legal needs as they grow.”
Eaton Peabody’s Portland office, the firm’s fifth in the state, has officially been up and running since mid-March and includes five lawyers and three support staff, Austin said. It’s located on the seventh floor of One Portland Square, the building that’s anchored by TD Bank’s main branch on the first floor.
Besides its headquarters in Bangor, Eaton Peabody has offices in Ellsworth, Augusta and Brunswick.
The firm, with a history dating to the Bangor law practice George F. Eaton started in 1917, first publicly disclosed it was expanding into the Portland market in December when it announced it was hiring Neal Pratt, a well-known southern Maine lawyer, as its first Portland-based lawyer.
Pratt, who most recently worked at Preti Flaherty, said on Tuesday evening that the first few months have been “terrific.” That’s not surprising, he said, given the company’s tradition of serving clients here.
“It’s worked according to plan,” Pratt said. “We’ve received a number of inquiries from new clients, both inside and outside of Maine.”