Two partners from Husch Blackwell have jumped to an atypical boutique in the St. Louis area.

Dannae Delano and Adam Hirtz have joined The Lowenbaum Partnership, a 24-attorney labor and employment shop in which attorneys work as employees, without the distinction of partners and associates.

Delano, whose practice focuses on employee benefits, said one reason for her departure was that Lowenbaum is "a much less competitive environment" than a traditional law firm. The firm is located in suburban Clayton, Mo.

Delano was an attorney at Blackwell Sanders before it merged with Husch & Eppenberger in 2008. Husch Blackwell has about 520 attorneys in 14 offices.

Hirtz, who was at Husch & Eppenberger before the merger, is a trial attorney who focuses on labor and employment matters. Rate pressure was one reason he made the move, he said—his rate is about $300 an hour at Lowenbaum, compared with $385 at Husch Blackwell. "It’s already made a difference in my ability to talk with clients," he said.

Both attorneys said they left on their own accord.

Robert Tomaso, managing partner of Husch Blackwell’s St. Louis office, described Delano and Hirtz as "talented lawyers," adding that he knew of no clients that had followed the two to Lowenbaum.

Lowenbaum’s structure is "atypical but not unprecedented," said Kent Zimmermann, a consultant at Zeughauser Group. Other firms, including now-dissolved Dreier LLP and Axiom Law, have similar arrangements.

"It is attractive to some attorneys who don’t want to deal with running a firm or having ownership in it," Zimmermann said.

Contact Leigh Jones at ljones@alm.com.