Minneapolis. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Yet another Philadelphia-based law firm has planted a flag in Minneapolis.

Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr announced Thursday that it opened an office in the Midwest city, bringing on eight partners from locally based midsize firm Gray Plant Mooty. Those partners are Maxwell Bremer, Alfred Coleman, Samuel Diehl, Stephen Eide, Kermit Nash, Nancy Quattlebaum Burke, Douglas Ramler and Andrew Daly.

Coleman will be managing partner of Saul Ewing’s new office, the firm said. According to Saul Ewing, one of Coleman’s corporate clients is the Minnesota Vikings.

Coleman said a significant number of his group’s clients will be making the move to Saul Ewing, noting that Gray Plant Mooty has been “extremely gracious in this transition.” Asked about the group’s book of business, he said it has historically been an eight-figure practice, and “it’s certainly on a strong growth trajectory.”

“We had clients that were operating significantly outside of the Twin Cities area. Having a national platform with then 15 offices, now 16, really peaked our interest,” Coleman said. Saul Ewing’s footprint, he said, “overlapped with where clients were, or where they were asking us to be.”

Minneapolis is Saul Ewing’s second Midwest location, after it entered the Chicago market in 2017 through its merger with Arnstein & Lehr. That combination, which added more than 100 lawyers to Saul Ewing’s head count, also expanded the firm’s presence in southeast Florida.

Saul Ewing managing partner Barry Levin said it’s been less than three months since his firm first got connected with the Minneapolis group. Their talks were not the result of a search for Minneapolis lawyers specifically, but came out of the firm’s goal of growing its corporate, M&A and private equity capabilities, he said.

“Our goal was to really find strong corporate talent wherever it may be, and in this case it took us to Minneapolis,” Levin said.

Still, he said, Saul Ewing has several clients headquartered in Minnesota who will benefit from the firm’s physical presence there, and the firm is now planning to grow aggressively in Minneapolis. The new office will be looking to hire associates and make additional lateral partner hires, he said.

Gray Plant Mooty, a Minneapolis-based firm with about 170 lawyers, claims to be the oldest firm in Minnesota, having been founded in 1866.

Asked for comment Thursday, a spokesperson for Gray Plant Mooty said in a statement that the firm thanks the departing partners for their contributions. “These individuals are outstanding lawyers and we wish them the best as they pursue this new opportunity,” the statement said.

Other large law firms, including several based in Pennsylvania, have shown an interest in Minneapolis of late.

Ballard Spahr merged with locally-based Lindquist & Vennum last year and has said it plans to expand its Minneapolis office and Midwest presence. Cozen O’Connor and Fox Rothschild have also grown in the city in recent years.

“As to why national firms might be having success in Minneapolis, I think there are groups of lawyers like ours that are looking for a more defined strategy,” Coleman said. “For firms that present that … there will always be an attraction.”

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