The merger of Strasburger & Price and Clark Hill has prompted more lateral moves in Texas —the latest being nine lawyers who left Strasburger on the eve of its recent combination with Clark Hill to join Quilling, Selander, Lownds, Winslett & Moser in Dallas and Plano.
On April 11, a group of seven lawyers who do consumer financial litigation, led by partner Paul Myers, joined Quilling Selander’s Plano office, which is located about 20 miles from downtown Dallas. Others who moved to Quilling Selander are partners Paul Sheldon, Marc Kirkland and Amanda Loughmiller, and associates Lauren Wood, Kristin Marker and James Acosta.
Myers said the looming merger of Strasburger and Clark Hill was a factor in his decision to consider opportunities at other firms in the Dallas-area market and ultimately join Quilling Selander, which does litigation and bankruptcy work.
“Clark Hill is a great firm and Strasburger is a great firm, and they will be great together,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t have had these conversations without the merger.”
On April 11, Dallas-based Strasburger merged with Detroit’s Clark Hill, creating a 650-lawyer firm with offices in 25 cities. It is one of three mergers this month involving a large Texas firm. Quilling Selander has 63 lawyers in offices in Dallas and Plano.
Separately, on April 2, litigator Mark Scudder joined Quilling Selander as a partner in Dallas, where he was joined by associate Amanda Costello. Scudder, who does commercial litigation, transportation and logistics litigation, and products and professional liability work, said his departure was not directly related to Strasburger’s linkup with Clark Hill but instead stems from what Quilling Selander can offer him and his clients.
“I left because of the opportunity here. This is an impressive law firm,” he said. “You can’t walk into the office without being impressed by the positive energy, the successful growing practices.”
At Quilling Selander, partner Matt Pickelman, a member of the management committee, said the partners are “absolutely thrilled” to have Mark and Paul and their teams at the firm on both professional and personal levels. Pickelman notes that he and a number of lawyers at the firm formerly practiced at Strasburger, and in fact, Scudder was his mentor at that firm.
“In a way, it’s a reunion,” Pickelman said.
Because of the close relationship between Strasburger and Quilling Selander, Pickelman said the firm did not try to poach lawyers from Strasburger as it prepared to merge with Clark Hill. But he said the lawyers’ decision to join the firm is “something we were beyond excited to have effectively fall in our laps.”
Myers said his friendship with a number of lawyers at Quilling Selander, including about half a dozen who formerly practiced at Strasburger, led him to the firm. He said he talked with friends at the firm sometime after the first of the year, and they invited him to consider the opportunity to lead an expansion of the firm’s Plano office, which had two lawyers before his group joined. Myers said he opened Strasburger’s Collin County office in 2004 and was the initial partner-in-charge.
“It’s a really hot market right now,” Myers said in describing business development in Plano. After just over a week on board at Quilling Selander, he has already hired two additional associates, increasing the lawyer count in Plano to 11, he said. He sees potential to expand the office to more than 30 lawyers over a few years.
Myers said his group represents defendants in consumer financial litigation, including consumer reporting agencies, creditors and employers. He declined to identify clients.
Myers said the Quilling Selander model fits his practice well. “While our practice is really national, we don’t need offices everywhere. Being a mid-sized firm is just fine. It was primarily about the relationships and the Collin County opportunity,” he said.
Scudder, who was a Strasburger lifer until his recent move, said he also was approached by personal friends at Quilling Selander about a lateral move. He also declined to identify clients.
Clark Hill Strasburger, as the newly merged firm is known in Texas, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the departures.