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Polsinelli has hired a pair of new leaders for its privacy and cybersecurity practice as part of a four-lawyer group coming aboard from Vedder Price .The leaders of the group, Bruce Radke and Michael Waters, are based in Chicago, where the firm has also hired Vedder Price associate Martin McElligott. Litigator John Cleary, another Vedder Price partner, is joining Polsinelli in New York.An official announcement of the new hires, which is expected Tuesday, will be the second group lateral addition that the Kansas City, Missouri-based Am Law 100 firm will have announced in as many weeks. Polsinelli recently opened an office in Seattle after hiring eight lawyers from leading local firm Foster Pepper, including the latter’s former CEO, Stephen Kenyon.

Bruce Radke
Polsinelli has added 27 partners this year, according to data from ALM Intelligence. The four-lawyer group peeling away from Vedder Price has handled nearly 1,000 data breach responses since 2003, Radke said. Polsinelli has sought to build its cybersecurity capabilities as two of the largest industries it serves—health care and financial services—operate in regulatory environments where the pressure is greatest to keep information safe. Polsinelli has 29 lawyers who work in the privacy and cybersecurity practice.“While privacy and cybersecurity touch all areas, it’s especially important right now in highly regulated areas like financial services and health care,” said Gregory Kratofil Jr., chair of Polsinelli’s technology transactions and data privacy group. “We were out looking to add the best [data breach response lawyers], and we know we found it with this group of lawyers.”Radke and Waters said they had been approached with unsolicited job opportunities by local Chicago firms before talking with Polsinelli, which has a 100-plus lawyer office in the Windy City.They were impressed by the breadth of leadership that showed up to the first meeting, which included firm chairman W. Russell Welsh, incoming chairman F. Chase Simmons , Kratofil and business department chair Frank Ross Jr.“The firm is very committed to privacy and cybersecurity,” Radke said. “And seeing where our practice will continue to grow for the next three to five years is very much in line with where the firm is growing.”Polsinelli has been  one of the nation’s fastest-growing firms  in the wake of the economic recession a decade ago. Last year, the 783-lawyer shop pulled in nearly $475.1 million in gross revenue . In 2010, Polsinelli had 413 lawyers and $167.5 million in gross revenue, according to ALM Intelligence data.The firm is currently undergoing a leadership transition, as Welsh will hand the reins over to Simmons next year after leading the firm since 1998. Kratofil said Radke and Waters had questions about that transition and how it could potentially affect Polsinelli’s plans for growth going forward. Both lawyers said they were impressed with what their new firm told them about how it had approached the transition.
Michael Waters
“I get the sense that at a lot of law firms your managing partner is whoever has your biggest book of business,” Waters said. “My sense here is that Chase was chosen in a very deliberate process because they thought he would be the best leader going forward.”Added Kratofil: “The leadership we’re going to get with Chase and the next generation really bodes well for the future of the firm, and Michael and Bruce are going to play a big part in that.”Other recent additions by Polsinelli include former Dentons partners David Gordon and Gordon Spring in Atlanta and Kansas City, respectively, as well as Husch Blackwell real estate partner Robert Detrick in Denver, where he joined his now former firm in 2011 after it acquired a leading local shop . Others have also left the firm’s partnership, including Barry Grissom, a former top federal prosecutor in Missouri who recently opened his own firm in Kansas City, and Andrew Hoyne, a former vice chair of the firm’s life sciences practice, who has started his own shop in St. Louis.

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