A union between Ballard Spahr and Minneapolis-based Lindquist & Vennum that went live on Jan. 2 has resulted in several lawyers from the latter leaving for other firms.
Barnes & Thornburg, which set up shop in the Twin Cities after a merger of its own in 2009, has now brought on a four-lawyer family law team from Lindquist & Vennum in Minneapolis.
The new lateral hires include partners Karen Schreiber, Sonja Trom Eayrs, Brittany Stephens Pearson and Gloria Myre, all of whom made the jump last week to Barnes & Thornburg, which late last year recruited a new COO from the U.S. Military Academy.
“With [the] merger, Ballard [Spahr] did not have a family law practice in its business plan, so we were going to need to make a move,” Schreiber said.
Schreiber said her group entertained different offers from several other firms, but wanted to make sure that they landed at a new firm that offered access to all the different disciplines they needed in order to ensure the success of their practice.
“Family law intersects with so many practice areas [and] we absolutely knew we needed a firm that offered a lot of resources to our family law group,” said Schreiber, who will now chair the family law practice at Barnes & Thornburg. “There’s an interplay and an interface in the family law arena with so many different decisions. … I’m really excited about seeing where this combination will go.”
Barnes & Thornburg announced last week its hire of intellectual property litigator Bruce Little, who has re-joined his former Lindquist & Vennum colleagues as an IP partner in Minneapolis, where Barnes & Thornburg also brought on Fox Rothschild financial restructuring and banking partners Thomas Hoffman and Michael Cavallaro. The latter two lawyers previously worked at Lindquist & Vennum, having left that shrinking shop in August 2016 to join Fox Rothschild.
“We have been strategically looking to grow with the right practice areas, but more importantly with the right people,” said Connie Lahn, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg’s outpost in Minneapolis. “We’re really trying to create a diverse, inclusive atmosphere.”
Lahn joined the firm back in 2014 from Fafinski Mark & Johnson, where she chaired the Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based firm’s bankruptcy group. She subsequently became the second woman to lead an office for Barnes & Thornburg when she took the helm of its Minnesota outpost in 2015.
The new lateral hires bring Barnes & Thornburg’s head count in Minneapolis to 32 and the firm isn’t stopping there. Lahn said that Barnes & Thornburg is looking this year to build out its labor and employment and corporate offerings in Minnesota to service its clients, which include a number of Fortune 500 companies.
“A number of our clients do expect us to do the work locally and want to give their work to local talent,” Lahn said. “It’s how Minneapolis is. It’s why I think Minneapolis has been one of those markets that has resisted the national firms.”
The American Lawyer reported late last year on the Twin Cities being one of the most active markets for law firm mergers, thanks to its solid corporate base, although many local independent firms have resisted the opportunity to join larger outfits.
As for Barnes & Thornburg, which in December saw a former partner leave the firm in Atlanta as a result of a fraudulent billing dispute with client, the firm did see Cozen O’Connor pick up employment defense litigation partner Tina Syring last month in Minneapolis. Cozen O’Connor also just hired Lindquist & Vennum’s former litigation chair Mark Jacobson as a partner in the same city.
Barnes & Thornburg recently brought on Brandt Hershman, a former top Republican state senator in Indiana, as of counsel in Washington, D.C. In November, Barnes & Thornburg hired liquidation expert Gary Caris as an insolvency and restructuring partner in Los Angeles, where he most recently worked at Diamond McCarthy.