Brian Hail and Mark Johansen, who were name partners at Dallas-based Gruber Hail Johansen Shank before it shuttered its door in April, have landed at new firms.
Hail returned to Kane Russell Coleman Logan on May 1 as a commercial litigation director in Dallas. He had practiced there from 1996 through 1998. Johansen joined Perkins Coie on May 3 as a commercial litigation partner in Dallas.
Partners at Gruber Hail, founded in 2006, decided to close down the firm in April—a move prompted by the state’s heated lateral market. Many of the firm’s lawyers, including its name partners, were being heavily recruited by national firms and regional, full-service firms that had moved into or expanded in Texas in the past year. In April, Michael Gruber joined Dorsey & Whitney‘s office in Dallas as a partner, and Mark Shank joined Diamond McCarthy in Dallas as of counsel. Hail and Johansen spent several weeks talking to firms about their moves.
Hail said he returned to Kane Russell in part because he knows many of the lawyers at the firm and has worked on litigation with several of them, including director Mike Logan. He also wanted to move to a Texas-based firm where he could maintain his $650 an hour billing rate and also have the flexibility to offer clients alternative billing arrangements.
“These guys really know how to manage a firm,” Hail said.
Logan said Hail’s return to the firm means “good things” because commercial litigation is one of the areas in which the firm wants to grow as part of its strategic plan to remain a strong Texas-based firm. “I knew Brian very well. He was an easy hire,” said Logan, a founding director who chairs the firm’s litigation section.
Hail said his clients include Interstate Batteries.
Johansen said he talked to a number of national and regional firms in the Dallas market, but Perkins Coie seemed like the best fit for his practice.
“They have an outstanding long-time reputation and an “A” list of clients. I was attracted by the firm’s reputation and by lawyers that are at the firm,” Johansen said. “And the firm is committed to growth in Dallas.”
He said he is bringing his clients with him, but declined to identify them.
Bobby Majumder, managing partner of Perkins Coie’s Dallas office, said in a statement that the hiring of Johansen will help the firm expand a key practice area.
Johansen said all of the lawyers from Gruber Hail have moved to new firms.
“Everybody landed well. We had a nice run together,” he said.