Seven K&L Gates Partners in Charleston Recognized in 2020 Best Lawyers in America

Seven partners from the Charleston, South Carolina office of global law firm K&L Gates LLP have been recognized in the 2020 edition of Best Lawyers in America, with one of the partners, Mark Sharpe, also recognized as Charleston’s Lawyer of the Year in Corporate Law.

The lawyers and the categories in which Best Lawyers recognizes them are:

James S. Bruce (Corporate Law)
Mr. Bruce is one of the founding partners of the firm’s Charleston office and represents clients in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other business transactions. He advises Fortune 500 companies, as well as middle-market and emerging-growth companies, in a broad range of industries, including aerospace, paper and packaging, technology, distribution, renewable energy, resort development, hospitality and leisure, retail, transportation and logistics, health care and media. Mr. Bruce also represents private equity and venture capital firms, strategic investors and distressed company investors.

Ernie L. Cochran (Corporate Law)
Ernie Cochran focuses his practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and general corporate matters. He advises Fortune 500 companies as well as middle-market and emerging growth companies in a wide variety of corporate matters. Mr. Cochran regularly represents private equity sponsors, hedge funds, venture capital firms and corporate investors. He also has experience involving real estate development and transactions and represents borrowers and lenders in connection with secured and unsecured credit facilities, asset-based loans and acquisition financing. Mr. Cochran has worked on transactions involving companies in many industries, including technology, paper and packaging, aerospace, distribution, energy, healthcare and real estate.

J. Walker Coleman IV (Employment Law - Management, Litigation - Labor and Employment)
Mr. Coleman is one of the founding partners of the firm's Charleston office. He is the Managing Partner of the Charleston office and serves on the firm's Global Advisory Council. He is an experienced labor and employment litigator who handles discrimination, harassment, wage and hour, wrongful termination, and retaliation cases for regional, national, and international companies in virtually every industry. He also prosecutes and defends restrictive covenant and trade secret claims, represents employers before state and federal employment and labor boards and departments, counsels employers on a myriad of labor and employment issues, and counsels companies on the sale and acquisition of domestic and foreign businesses.

Matthew J. Norton (Real Estate Law)
Mr. Norton is one of the founding partners of the firm’s Charleston office and serves on the firm’s Global Advisory Council in his capacity as a leader of the firmwide Real Estate practice area. He also spearheads the firm’s global Resort, Hospitality and Leisure practice, in addition to serving as a co-chair for the firm’s Caribbean Practice Affinity Group. He has worked extensively throughout Latin America and the Caribbean basin and has significant experience in handling transactions that involve the sale, acquisition, financing and development of hotels, resorts and golf courses.

Mark S. Sharpe (Banking and Finance Law, Corporate Law-Lawyer of the Year, Litigation - Banking and Finance, Real Estate Law)
Mr. Sharpe focuses his practice on commercial real estate, banking and commercial transactions, creditor rights and litigation related to those areas. Mr. Sharpe frequently serves as a speaker for continuing education programs sponsored by the South Carolina Bar, and is the author of several ABA publications, such as The Law of Guaranties, a Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law and Commercial Lending Law, a State-by-State Guide. He also authored the chapter on multi-state practice of law and ethics for the Practical Guide to Commercial Real Estate in South Carolina, published by the South Carolina Bar.

Jennifer Thiem (Insurance Law)
Ms. Thiem is a partner in the firm’s Charleston office. Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and insurance and risk management counseling. In her commercial litigation practice, Ms. Thiem has represented a diverse group of clients as plaintiffs and defendants in both state and federal courts. She also provides insurance and risk management counseling for commercial policyholders. Ms. Thiem has counseled clients with respect to coverage or potential claims under a variety of insurance policies, including general liability, directors and officers liability, professional liability, employers liability, representations and warranties and commercial property. With respect to representations and warranties insurance, Ms. Thiem works collaboratively with deal counsel to represent publicly and privately-held companies in the placement and negotiation of representations and warranties insurance policies.

lA founding partner in the firm’s Charleston office, Mr. Walpole focuses his practice on banking and asset finance. He represents mortgage portfolio lenders and servicers in connection with the servicing of securitized loans, including defeasances, assumptions, consents and other servicing matters. Mr. Walpole also represents private and institutional lenders as well as borrowers in connection with the origination of secured loans as well as the purchase and sale of distressed debt. Additionally, Mr. Walpole practices in the areas of general corporate, commercial lending and real estate transactions.

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals. For more information about K&L Gates or its locations, practices and registrations, visit

SCBIZtv is part of the SC Biz News family, serving 100,000 high-level business execs throughout South Carolina. Click for more from SCBIZtv.