Whirlwind Market: Winds of Change Sweep Across Kansas City’s Legal Landscape, Pt. 2

Making Room for More: Polsinelli Expands Their Staff to Keep Up With Demand

Making Room for More

Expansion is occurring in other area firms as well. Yet, instead of a merger, Kansas City-based national law firm, Polsinelli, for example, has added attorneys to its staff to support its growth in health care, financial services and business litigation over the last three years. Polsinelli has become the fastest-growing law firm in the U.S. for the past five years, according to The American Lawyer. In addition to the three key areas of growth, Polsinelli has established expertise in real estate, life sciences, technology and energy, and has more than 660 attorneys in 17 cities.

Polsinelli Chairman and CEO Russ Welsh attributes some of the growth to an improved economy. Still, some of it is market-driven, Welsh says, citing a host of legal work resulting from the Affordable Care Act and the consolidation of physician groups, providers, etc.

Read part 1: Welcome To Texas   |   Read part 3: Going It Alone

“We’re fortunate our clients have had robust business cycles in the last few years,” Welsh says. “As such, business litigation is up. As the economy comes back, more people are active in their business, too, so we are doing more commercial, business-to-business litigation. Cases involving intellectual property are up as well – a reflection of the economy. Financial services work is on the rise, thanks to improved commercial real estate lending and commercial real estate in general.”

Russ Welsh, Chairman and CEO of Polsinelli Law of Kansas City.

While its core staff remains in Kansas City, Polsinelli’s Denver office recently added the national litigation team of James Miller, Paul Wood and Tom Wagner to the firm’s commercial litigation practice. Miller and Wood, with a combined 69 years of complex and high-profile litigation experience, joined Polsinelli as shareholders, while Wagner joins as an associate. In the last two years, Polsinelli has opened offices in Los Angeles and Dallas.

In the future, Polsinelli plans to continue expanding its human resources, saying it will “over invest” in health care, life sciences and intellectual property, energy, financial services, real estate and business litigation.

One thing that has changed for the Kansas City firm in recent years, however, is its hiring strategy. Traditionally, Welsh says Polsinelli hired second-year law students who joined upon graduation as first-year associates. Now, the firm takes a more balanced approach, hiring on an “as needed” basis vs. a pipeline basis.

Read part 1: Welcome To Texas   |   Read part 3: Going It Alone