Husch Blackwell loses 11 lawyers to rival Polsinelli

July 2, 2013 Following news of Husch Blackwell’s expansion in Texas via merger with Austin-based Brown McCarroll, the firm has lost a group of 11 attorneys, including eight shareholders, who departed for Kansas-based firm Polsinelli.

AM Law Daily reported that Husch Blackwell’s CEO and managing partner, Gregory Smith, was less than pleased with this development, backhanding Polsinelli by saying: “Polsinelli is interested in nothing but adding numbers. The firm is not about real revenue increase — it is about head count increase.”

In response, Polsinelli chairman and CEO Russ Welsh said: “We are not chasing some artificial head count or gross revenue number,” adding: “This sounds like someone is throwing sour grapes to me, and we do not engage in that type of behavior.”

Smith also had some nasty things to say about outgoing partner Walter Wislon: “I believe Walter Wilson’s decision to move was in direct response to our decision to replace him as chair of our government contract practice with Mike Gatje,” Smith said. “Walt has not been as active in the practice in a number of years, and he spends a lot of time in Naples, Florida. Gatje is younger, and the people who stayed in that practice are younger.”

Wilson’s response was more measured: “I would never speak ill of Husch Blackwell,” he says. “Polsinelli is a very dynamic firm that offers my clients an opportunity to be better served. It has 650 lawyers, a supplies service, and a construction practice that ensures my clients’ needs will be better served. Gatje taking over my position had been in the works for awhile, and I would not be upset even if I had not had this opportunity.”

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