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July 14, 2011 6:24 PM

Husch Blackwell Adds 24 Attorneys from Denver Firm

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Am Law 100 firm Husch Blackwell announced Wednesday that it has added a group of 24 attorneys from mid-level Denver firm Jacobs Chase.

The group represents the bulk of Jacobs Chase's roster and includes founding partners Paul Jacobs and Jeffrey Chase, who join Husch Blackwell as of counsel.

Jacobs is a prominent dealmaker in Denver, according to the Husch Blackwell press release announcing the Mile High hires. Jacobs, the release notes, was heavily involved in the city's successful bid to land the expansion Colorado Rockies franchise in 1990, and went on to serve as the team's executive vice president and general counsel from 1991 to 1995.

Chase--who launched the firm with Jacobs in 1995 along with lawyers the two had previously worked with at Holme Roberts & Owen, according to Law Week Colorado--focuses on commercial litigation ranging from securities and intellectual property issues to legal malpractice.

Mary Stuart, a former Holme Roberts partner, joined Husch Blackwell in 2008 and is the managing partner of the firm's Denver office.

Husch Blackwell cochairman David Fenley tells The Am Law Daily that Jacobs's and Chase's long-standing relationship with Stuart and another Holme Roberts alum, litigation partner David Steefel, helped bring the new additions into the fold. The incoming group, Fenley says, will expand the firm's offerings in the real estate development arena, particularly in regards to hospitality and stadium development work.

"We're opportunistic," Fenley says. "So, when we see that quality of people, we're going to jump at the opportunity. Now, it's even more sweet, because, in the hospitality and resort area, we didn't really have that capability at a serious level."

Though neither Fenley nor Jacobs would use the terms "merger" or "acquisition," the group move means that for all practical purposes Jacobs Chase will cease to exist as a stand-alone firm. The only four lawyers from the 28-lawyer firm who are not joining Husch Blackwell opted to take their practices elsewhere for various reasons, Jacobs says. (Law Week Colorado notes that some kind of combination between the two firms had been rumored since May.)

Jacobs says the move was driven in part by a need to expand his firm's reach--both geographically and in terms of resources--in order to better serve clients.

"Our primary focus has always been litigation and real estate," he says. "And, we've never had, for example, a health care group. Well, if we're going to do senior housing, I need a health care group. If we're going to do hotel deals, I need a more sophisticated tax group."

The additions bring the head count in Husch Blackwell's Denver office to 41 attorneys, with the new arrivals being spread out among the real estate and development, business litigation, and banking and finance practices.

Real estate lawyers joining the firm as senior counsel are Steven Cohen, Robert Detrick, Lori Duwve, Michelle McDonald, Shane Orr and Michael Smith. Business litigators arriving include senior counsel Michael Berger, Barbara Grandjean, Elizabeth Harris, Lawrence Katz, N. Reid Neureiter, Kathryn Reilly, and Lawrence Zavadil. Mark Bell will be a banking and finance senior counsel.

Husch Blackwell, which now boasts 620 attorneys in 13 cities, formed in 2007 with the merger of Husch & Eppenberger and Blackwell Sanders. The firm grew again when it merged in 2008 with Chicago-based intellectual property litigation boutique Welsh & Katz.

In April, The Am Law Daily reported that the firm had signed a referral deal with U.K. firm McGrigors, which resulted in Husch Blackwell folding its London office into McGrigors's headquarters.

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