Dentons—the newly named global firm born of SNR Denton’s recent tie-up with European firm Salans and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain—said Tuesday it is beefing up its white-collar practice in the Midwest by adding a six-partner group from Husch Blackwell in Kansas City.
The incoming team is led by Stephen Hill, a former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri who served as a member of Husch Blackwell’s partner board and also chaired the firm’s government compliance, investigations, and litigation department. Hill, who joined Husch Blackwell from the U.S. attorney’s office in 2001, represents clients in a variety of investigation and litigation matters, with a focus on securities enforcement.
Hill says he and his team have been eager to broaden their geographic reach. "More and more of our work is national and international in nature, so we started looking for firms that had really set up a platform to practice white-collar law in that fashion," he says. "And the leadership [at Dentons], the platform they had set up, both nationally and internationally, was very attractive to us."
The other partners joining Dentons with Hill are Patrick McInerney, Lisa Krigsten, Steven Aaron, Maxwell Carr-Howard, and Angela Harse. Associate Sara Holzschuh rounds out the group arriving from Husch Blackwell.
The group considered several firms, Hill says, before focusing its attention on what was then SNR Denton after Kansas City–based energy regulatory partner Karl Zobrist—who left Husch Blackwell predecessor firm Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin for SNR Denton predecessor firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal in 2005—put them in touch with several high-ranking members of his firm’s white-collar practice. Hill and his colleagues proceeded to meet with SNR leaders in Washington, D.C., and New York several times over the ensuing months before making their decision.
Hill adds that "the cardinal factor" in the group’s decision was that as the talks grew more serious, 1,140-lawyer SNR Denton was poised to continue its international expansion by joining forces with Salans and Fraser Milner. (The three firms officially combined on April 1.) The firm’s growing global platform was especially enticing, Hill says, given the increase in cross-border work he and his team have seen lately related to money laundering issues, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters, and the enforcement of import/export laws.
Hill and the rest of the incoming attorneys officially start at Dentons on April 15. While the firm’s Kansas City office currently has just one other white-collar partner‚ Curtis Woods‚ Hill says the group will also work closely with U.S. white-collar practice head Glenn Colton, who is based in New York.
Colton said in a statement that Hill and the rest of the incoming attorneys "are among the most accomplished white-collar litigators in the region, and we are thrilled to add them to our growing team."
The group made up the lion’s share of a Husch Blackwell white-collar criminal defense group that now counts Jefferson City, Missouri–based Harvey Tettlebaum as its only partner, according to the firm’s website.
"We wish them well and thank them for their years of service at Husch Blackwell," Greg Smith, Husch Blackwell’s managing partner, said in a statement provided by the firm. "2012 was one of our strongest years in recent history, and we look forward to continued growth and success moving forward."
Missouri-based Husch Blackwell saw its gross revenue grow 6 percent in 2012, to $282.2 million, while the firm trimmed its equity partner head count 11 percent, to 140, according to The American Lawyer‘s early Am Law 100 reporting. The firm’s lone office outside the United States is in London, where it folded its operations into the headquarters of referral partner U.K. firm McGrigors in 2011.
While financial data for the week-old Dentons is not yet available, The Am Law Daily has previously reported that the firm expects to have roughly 2,500 lawyers and annual gross revenues of more than $1.3 billion. According to reporting by The American Lawyer, predecessor firm SNR Denton’s gross revenue fell 1.3 percent last year, to $710.5 million, while profits per partner increased 12 percent, to $785,000.