Gray Reed & McGraw has beefed up its banking and finance and estate planning practice groups in Houston with four lateral hires from other local firms.
The group includes partners Anna Virene, who came from Nathan Sommers Jacobs, and Brian Cororve, who joined from Campbell & Riggs. Virene now chairs Gray Reed’s banking and finance practice group, and Cororve now chairs the firm’s estate planning practice group.
Virene brought with her associate Shanna Bayer, and Cororve joined along with associate Emily Radke.
Cary Gray, managing partner of 140-lawyer Gray Reed, said the new hires help the firm expand in two of three areas the firm is targeting—trusts and estates and probate, transactional, and health care.
“We were already invested in both of those practice areas, but this made a lot of sense,” Gray said about the firm’s newest lateral hires.
He said the firm is expanding in those three practice areas because they fit well with the rest of the firm’s offerings. “We are a business firm. We already have investments in those areas. This is a way to build on the platform we have developed,” Gray said.
“Brian and Emily in the trusts and estate planning practice are both board certified, great backgrounds and our lawyers already knew them. Pretty much the same story with Anna and Shanna,” Gray said. He also noted that Anna Virene is married to Gray Reed litigation partner Joe Virene.
Anna Virene said she decided to move to Gray Reed because it’s much larger than her prior firm and provides greater resources and cross-selling opportunities.
“I’ve always worked in commercial lending and I love representing banks. I just wanted to have a little more depth at the associate and paralegal level to really grow my practice,” she said.
She said her clients include Cadence Bank, Origin Bank, AmegyBank and Third Coast Bank.
Cororve said Glen Eichelberger, a partner in Houston who does trusts, estate and philanthropic planning, approached him about joining the firm, and Cororve was excited about the opportunity to work with him.
“Gray Reed is a firm on the move. I was presented with a tremendous opportunity to work with a great group of people,” he said.
Cororve declined to identify his clients but said they include individuals, high-net-worth families, entrepreneurs, business owners and executives. “It’s a broad array of different professions. That’s what’s fun,” he said.
Marvin Nathan, a name partner in Nathan Sommers, declined to comment on the departures from his firm.
Win Campbell, a founding shareholder in Campbell & Riggs, declined to comment on the departures from his firm, but noted that the firm recently hired Lisa Colgin and Loyd Wright as shareholders. Campbell said Colgin formerly headed Campbell & Riggs estate planning section for 17 years and returned after raising children. Wright is a former Harris County probate court judge who lost a re-election bid in November 2018.
Gray Reed has offices in Houston and Dallas and just opened a third office in Waco.