Michael Rodgers
Michael Rodgers ()

Polsinelli has recruited real estate shareholder Mike Rodgers from Seyfarth Shaw, further expanding Polsinelli’s two-year-old Atlanta office.

Rodgers, who primarily represents real estate developers, spent almost 18 years at Seyfarth. He’s negotiated governance structures and easement agreements for large master-planned communities, urban mixed-use properties, in-fill residential developments, resorts, office and industrial parks in Atlanta and elsewhere.

“I was attracted to Polsinelli’s national footprint, the firm’s recognized real estate practice group and, most importantly, the firm’s commitment to serving the real estate development industry, which is not universal in many national law firms,” Rodgers said in a statement.

Rodgers is active in the Urban Land Institute, serving as the membership chair for its national Urban Revitalization Council, a member of its Atlanta-based Creative Development Council and a mentor through its Young Leaders Group.

Polsinelli’s Atlanta managing partner, Nancy Rafuse, said Rodgers will expand the firm’s real estate capabilities in Atlanta. “We are continuing to grow in Atlanta and as a result are moving in Midtown this summer to accommodate our expanding team of attorneys,” Rafuse said in a statement.

The local office is currently at 1355 Peachtree St. N.E.

Rodgers’ addition gives Polsinelli 27 lawyers in Atlanta, according to its website. Polsinelli launched the office in 2014 when it acquired Rafuse Hill & Hodges, with 11 labor and employment lawyers and litigators. Last fall the firm landed a seven-lawyer health care team from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

Polsinelli, an 800-lawyer firm with roots in Kansas City, Missouri, has expanded rapidly over the last eight years, and now has 19 locations nationally.


DLA Piper has added a corporate partner, H. Frank Layson III from Jones Day. Layson handles mergers and acquisitions in the United States and abroad, joint ventures and strategic alliances. He also represented the Atlanta-based National Center for Civil and Human Rights pro bono from its inception to its grand opening in 2014.

“Frank is an Atlanta native with deep-rooted relationships in this market and experience working with some of the region’s largest companies,” Joseph Silver, DLA’s Atlanta managing partner, said in a statement. “As we continue to expand our firm’s corporate practice, Frank is another addition who will allow us to better compete for and service our clients.”

Keith Kodosky has left Dentons for Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, joining its products liability practice as a partner. Kodosky is national coordinating counsel for a global chemical company in benzene litigation. He’s defended other toxic tort cases over welding rod fumes, lead paint, carbon monoxide and chemical exposure claims. His practice also includes complex commercial litigation, handling securities fraud class actions and government investigations. Kodosky is vice chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s product liability section and a member of the Defense Research Institute.

Gift and apparel maker Mud Pie has hired Zander Brekke as its first general counsel. Brekke joins the Stone-Mountain based gift company from Stanley, Esrey & Buckley in Midtown, where he was an associate. In the newly created position, Brekke will serve as GC and human resources director for Mud Pie, which offers “gracious gifting” through retailers, department stores and online purveyors such as Amazon and Zulily. Mud Pie’s president, Fred Pannek, said in a statement that the company’s fast growth over the past three years made the position necessary.

Drew Eckl & Farnham has added three associates: Payton Bramlett, Erika Oates and Christopher Jackson. Bramlett, who joined from Vernis & Bowling, practices civil tort litigation. Oates joined from AIG, where she defended worker’s compensation cases; she is in the workers’ compensation practice. Jackson was at Lister & Holt and practices workers’ compensation and appellate law.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan has elected Adam Cohen in Washington and Ram Sunkara in Atlanta to its executive committee, which now has nine members. Cohen is a member of the tax practice, focused on benefits and compensation, and Sunkara is an energy lawyer. “Adam and Ram are tremendously skilled lawyers with top leadership qualities, and their addition adds more talent, diversity and unique experiences to the group,” said Sutherland managing partner Mark Wasserman in a statement.

A Japanese judge, Hidetoshi Azechi, is visiting Atlanta while on a year’s sabbatical from the Kyoto District Court. Earlier this week he shadowed Miles Mediation team leader Joe Murphey to learn more about mediation in the United States. He’s also a visiting judge at Fulton County Superior Court.

Vivian Hoard of Taylor English Duma has become a member of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, which is by invitation only. Hoard practices tax controversy law.

The Atlanta Legal Aid Society is looking for new musical talent for Justice Jam 2016, its annual battle of the bands benefiting Legal Aid of Cobb County and the Cobb Justice Foundation. Legal Aid is holding band sign-up right now for the Oct. 8 event, which will be at the Earl Smith Strand Theater—and they especially want to hear from bands that haven’t played the show in the past. Contact Angie Tacker at ajtacker@atlantalegalaid.org. More information on Justice Jam is at justicejam.atlantalegalaid.org.