Polsinelli, a law firm that has been actively scooping up lateral hires over the past few years, has just added lawyers in Denver and in Washington, D.C.
In Denver, the firm added three lawyers, led by shareholder Chuck Cotter, a corporate lawyer with expertise on venture capital deals in the food, beverage and consumer products space. In Washington, the firm announced that Iliana Peters, who worked for several years as an official in the civil rights office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has joined as a shareholder in its health care operations practice.
Cotter, joined by associates Finity Jernigan and Christie DiNapoli, comes to Polsinelli from Holland & Hart’s Boulder, Colorado office. The trio are currently based in Denver, where Polsinelli has an existing office, but the firm said in a statement that it plans to establish a presence in Boulder.
At Holland & Hart, Cotter held a leadership position as head of that firm’s food, beverage and consumer products group. His practice focuses on startups and venture capital transactions as well as mergers and acquisitions and private equity deals. He has represented clients ranging from consumer products companies, including emerging growth companies and startups, to venture capital funds and angel investors, as well as executives and corporate boards.
“Chuck is a tremendous trusted advisor who has built a national reputation in the food, beverage and consumer goods industries because of his ability to help clients achieve their goals at all stages of growth—from raising capital, executing acquisitions and divestitures, or complying with regulatory requirements,” Adam Hull, co-chair of Polsinelli’s venture capital and emerging growth group, said in a statement.
Cotter said in an interview on Wednesday that he was drawn to Polsinelli by its national reach and an emphasis within the firm on its venture capital-related practice. He noted that Polsinelli has offices in key markets for his clients, and that the firm has existing expertise in areas that are often crucial to clients in the food and beverage space—including a Food and Drug Administration regulatory team in Washington, D.C., and strong national tax and intellectual property practices.
At the same time, he added, Polsinelli’s rate structure is lower than the average New York- or San Francisco-centric firm, which Cotter views as a huge benefit to his emerging company and other clients, who won’t have to pay more just because his team switched firms. “We’ve had great success moving a pretty large client base over” to Polsinelli, he said, attributing that in part to the combination of Polsinelli’s nationwide reach, wide-ranging expertise, and a reasonable rate structure.
”They offer what I’d call ‘between the coast’ rates, but a national practice and a national quality practice,” said Cotter. “You’ll never outgrow the services of this firm.”
The announcement of Cotter and his team’s arrival was followed by another saying Peters was joining the firm as a shareholder in Washington. Peters had spent the past several years at the HHS office of civil rights, serving most recently as acting deputy director. She has expertise in privacy and data security issues affecting the healthcare sector. In her government roles, Peters had a hand in guiding HHS enforcement efforts to crack down on violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
“Today’s health care providers face privacy and security risks at every turn,” said Matt Murer, chairman of Polsinelli’s health care department. “Iliana brings key insights into the government’s investigation, enforcement and settlement processes and will enhance our ability to guide our clients in responding to ever-changing threats and risks.”
The recent Polsinelli hires come shortly after the firm lost a practice leader in Brian Bewley, who joined Bass, Berry & Sims in Nashville, Tennessee. Bewley, a former official in the HHS inspector general’s office, had served as co-chair of Polsinelli’s compliance and government audit and investigations practices.
Welcoming Bewley to the new firm, Todd Rolapp, Bass Berry’s managing partner, said in a statement that Bewley’s “robust experience handling healthcare fraud and compliance issues at the federal level directly complements the firm’s roster of attorneys with widespread government backgrounds.”
Polsinelli, a Kansas City, Missouri-based firm with roughly 800 lawyers, has added 94 partners over the past two years, according to ALM Intelligence. Much of the firm’s recent growth has been in Chicago, where it has grown from just six lawyers in 2006 to 99 as of mid-December.