Husch, which now has 95 lawyers in offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston, made lateral hires in its insurance, banking and finance, real estate, government affairs and governmental disputes practices. Eight of the new hires are partners.
“It is a big deal,” said Paul Eberle, the firm’s chief executive.
Husch Blackwell moved into the Texas market in 2013, when it merged with Austin firm Brown McCarroll.
Eberle said Husch Blackwell lawyers in Texas started talking with Gardere lawyers last fall, while the firm was engaging in merger negotiations with Foley. “The conversations started primarily with Steve Camp in Dallas and just grew from there as people got more comfortable with the Husch Blackwell strategy,” Eberle said.
Greg Smith, the firm’s chair, said the lawyers bring a lot to the firm because they fit nicely into existing industry groups.
“We were first and foremost interested in growing in scale and depth in industries in which we are focused,” Smith said, adding that geography is secondary to industry groups when considering when to add laterals.
But “there is no question the Texas markets are on fire,” he said.
As of Monday, the firm has added partners Scott Davis, David Timmins and Jason Heep, and senior counsel Eric Levy to the firm’s national insurance coverage and litigation team in Dallas.
Partners Steven Camp, W. Brian Memory and Reuben Rosof, of counsel Matt Crockett and associate Caleb Rush joined the firm’s banking and finance group in Dallas and Houston.
The government solutions team in Houston gained partners Kate David and Mike Stafford, along with associate Philip Morgan, who will assist private companies, governments and elected and appointed officials with public-law matters. Associate Ben Stephens will join the firm later this month.
In Austin, Mark Vane joins as an of counsel on the government affairs team. Vane and Stafford will also work closely with the firm’s lobbying and government-affairs consulting affiliate, Husch Blackwell Strategies.
Davis, David and Camp each said Gardere’s negotiations with Foley led them to consider moving to another firm. “The merger started me thinking about what was in the long-range best interest in my practice group,” said Camp, who represents a number of large regional banks. He also said he has known banking lawyers at Husch Blackwell for 20 years.
David said they are excited about the opportunity to help Husch Blackwell build its Texas offices and their practice groups.
Davis, who practiced at Gardere for 28 years, said it made sense to talk to other firms because the merger with Foley would be like moving to a new firm anyway.
Gardere is not the only Texas firm to see departures related to a merger. Andrews Kurth Kenyon, whose merger with Hunton & Williams became effective Monday, lost dozens of lawyers in Texas to other firms in the weeks prior to the deal closing.