Seattle. Photo: Shutterstock

Stoel Rives is adding more than a dozen attorneys, including eight partners, to its Seattle office from local firm Foster Pepper.

The group of 13 lawyers will officially start at the firm Feb. 1, boosting Stoel Rives’ head count in the Emerald City to 99 attorneys.

Beth Clark, Joseph Delaney, John Fandel, Michael Kuntz, Colm Nelson, Christopher Osborn, John Santa Lucia and Sabina Shapiro will all join Stoel Rives as partners in its real estate and land use practice groups.

The Portland-based firm is also adding Alexandra Kleeman, W. Adam Coady and Nathan Luce as of counsel and Hunter Jeffers and Emily Kelly as associates.

“They’re a known quantity,” said Vanessa Soriano Power, managing partner of the Stoel Rives Seattle office, which first opened via a merger with Seattle-based Jones, Grey and Bayley in 1987.

“They’re a pre-eminent group both in the state and the region,” she said.

Soriano Power said that the group and Stoel Rives’ real estate and land use practices worked in parallel over the years, serving very similar, or, in some instances, the same client bases.

The Foster Pepper group has represented real estate investors, developers and owners in acquisitions, leasing and financing of real estate projects across the country.

Given the strength of the Foster Pepper group in real estate and other industries that have real estate needs, Soriano Power said it gives Stoel Rives an opportunity to build out the practice in an increasingly competitive legal market.

“It also gives our existing clients some real depth in the bench and in the strengths in work that we can do for them on the ground here,” Soriano Power said. “It gives us a lock on some of the key real estate work in this region.”

This isn’t the first time an Am Law 200 firm has poached attorneys from the now nearly 100-lawyer Foster Pepper in an effort to build out its own operations in Seattle.

In the spring of 2018, Buchalter launched its office in the city with three Foster Pepper partners, including its former managing partner Jeffrey Frank, who now serves as managing partner of Buchalter’s Seattle office.

In May, Polsinelli opened an office in the city, bringing aboard former Foster Pepper CEO Stephen Kenyon as well as seven other attorneys.

Following the group’s departure to Posinelli, Foster Pepper’s managing partner P. Stephen DiJulio said in a statement to The American Lawyer that the firm has been approached by larger firms looking to enter the Seattle market but had decided against a combination.

In the May 2018 statement, DiJulio, who noted that Foster Pepper posted “record-breaking” revenue over the previous two years, said that the firm made the decision to focus on its “long-established core strengths: real estate and land use, public finance and municipal government.”

In a statement Thursday in response to the most recent departures, a firm spokeswoman said Foster Pepper remains committed to “providing the best legal service to our clients in and outside of the Seattle and Spokane legal markets” and it continues to look for strategic growth opportunities.

“As the Seattle market continues to grow and law firms consolidate to meet demands, it is common to see these types of moves. We wish our departing colleagues well and are thankful for their service to Foster Pepper,” the spokeswoman said.