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September 3, 2010 3:17 PM

Lathrop & Gage Announces Merger with Denver Firm

Posted by Brian Baxter

Lathrop & Gage, the oldest law firm west of the Mississippi River, has agreed to merge with Denver firm Kamlet Reichert, according to a report in The Denver Post.

The merger will bring Lathrop, a 283-lawyer firm based in Kansas City, Mo., to nearly 300 lawyers. The combined firm will retain the Lathrop name.

Kamlet Reichert was previously known as Kamlet Shepherd Reichert until last year when high-profile cofounding partner Willie Shepherd, Jr., announced plans to leave the firm for Perkins Coie.

As previously reported by The Am Law Daily, Shepherd's lateral move fell apart after he received a public censure for misrepresenting diversity numbers at Kamlet Reichert in order to win legal work from DuPont. (Kamlet Reichert was accused of no wrongdoing; Shepherd now has his own solo practice in Denver.)

The Post reports that the merger with Lathrop will move Kamlet Reichert beyond its current Colorado borders.

"[The merger] really brings us areas we weren't able to do before--oil and gas and intellectual property," cofounding partner Jay Kamlet told The Post. He later added that several other suitors had approached Kamlet Reichert about a merger since the firm was formed in 2000.

The agreement will combine Lathrop's 16-lawyer Denver office--led by litigation partner Philip Lorenzo--with 24-lawyer Kamlet Reichert. According to a statement from Lathrop confirming the merger, the new firm will have 37 attorneys in the Denver office space currently occupied by Kamlet Reichert.

Lathrop, which also has an 11-lawyer office in Boulder focused primarily on patent work, hopes to increase its corporate and real estate capacity through the Kamlet Reichert merger.

"It's exciting to add the sophisticated corporate and real estate acumen that Kamlet Reichert attorneys provide, not only in Denver, but for our clients nationwide," Lathrop CEO Joel Voran said in a statement. "This addition of talent in Colorado makes our business law team one of the most dynamic west of the Mississippi."

According to the most recent Am Law 200 financial data, Lathrop had gross revenue of $121 million in 2009 and profits per partner of $410,000. Revenue per lawyer was at $455,000.

Since taking over at Lathrop three years ago after the firm lost confidence in his predecessor, Voran has ambitiously sought out merger partners. Regional competitors like Husch Blackwell, Polsinelli Shughart, and Stinson Morrison Hecker are the products of mergers and Lathrop has sought to grow through acquisitions as well.

In November 2008, Lathrop added Los Angeles litigation shop Spillane Shaeffer Aronoff Bandlow, giving the firm a West Coast presence. Lathrop opened a Chicago office in July 2009.

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