Reporter Roy Strom recently reported on the Chicago legal market which is experiencing a drop in the number of lawyers more than any other large city. At all but one of the 10 largest law firms in Chicago's Lawyer's
2008 survey, the number of lawyers fell further than the firm as a whole.
Meanwhile, Polsinelli, a firm that opened in Chicago in 2006 with six lawyers, plans to move into about 120,000 square feet of space in the office tower rising just west of the Chicago River at 151 N. Riverside Plaza.
While the recession threw Chicago’s oldest firms into decline, it sped up growth at Polsinelli.
“The recession impacted us positively,” said Tony Nasharr, the office’s managing partner.
As the city’s largest firms cut associate classes and “service partners,” Nasharr said the lateral partner hires he recruited often came to Polsinelli seeking a wider support staff. In some cases, he recruited partners from the largest firms on the basis that offices at their current firm in, say, Germany or Dubai, were not helpful to their practice.
Today, four of the firm’s practice group chairs are in Chicago.
Andrew Douglas joined from Seyfarth and leads the firm’s employee and executive benefits group. Matthew Murer came from Foley & Lardner to chair Polsinelli’s national health-care practice, which is a key focus at the firm. Mary Clare Bonaccorsi chairs the health care litigation group, joining from Bryan Cave. And Eric Greenfield, who joined from Greenberg Traurig, is the vice chair of Polsinelli’s real estate practice.
"Chicago is a deep talent pool for Polsinelli,” Nasharr said. “And whether it be health care or labor and employment or tax or life sciences or technology we can find the caliber of lawyer we need in Chicago. And so the growth here is dictated not really by the needs of the Chicago office per se, but by the needs of our individual practice groups.”
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