October 1, 2012

Polsinelli Shughart’s original founder Jim Polsinelli marks 40 years with the growing national law firm that he started with two other lawyers in Kansas City, Missouri in 1972. Today, Polsinelli Shughart has grown to a large national law firm with more than 600 attorneys in 16 offices from coast to coast.

“We never imagined at that time that one day our firm would develop into a national firm with offices in major cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York,” said Polsinelli, who still practices full-time at the firm. “Our plan at the time was never to grow larger than 25 attorneys. But we grew with what our clients’ needed and here we are today.”

Polsinelli was born in Canada but grew up in Kansas City and attended law school at the University of Missouri- Kansas City. Originally a trial attorney, Polsinelli switched to corporate law because he liked maintaining relationships and working with clients on an ongoing basis, a philosophy the firm still values today. The firm built a local and regional reputation for providing corporate work to small and medium-sized companies serving clients from its original office in the Plaza Theatre building on the Country Club Plaza. “We always knew when they had a popular movie because there would be more popcorn than usual strewn through the steps,” laughs Polsinelli.

In 1998, the firm named Russ Welsh as chairman and the growth of the firm accelerated strategically. Welsh led the firm from 90 attorneys to more than 600 attorneys today. Last year, the firm added offices in Dallas and Los Angeles and continues to attract sophisticated lawyers who like the firm’s entrepreneurial spirit, business model and corporate culture.

“Jim’s core values and principles are very much alive in the firm today,” said Welsh. “We thank him for his leadership, his strategic foresight and most of all for his friendship. We could not be what we are today without Jim Polsinelli.”

Today, the firm is one of the fastest growing law firms in the country. The attorneys provide services in five core industries including health care, financial services, real estate, life sciences, energy, as well as litigation. Offices in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, St. Louis, New York and Wilmington have all expanded or moved to new locations to accommodate growth. Kansas City attorneys will move to the Plaza Vista building, currently under construction, in the fall of 2013.

In addition to founding and leading a highly successful law firm, Jim Polsinelli has also been involved in a number of civic causes that bettered the way of life for Kansas Citians. Most notably, as former chair of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, he led the construction of an exercise trail around Mill Creek Park and the famous Plaza Neptune Fountain. Always a proponent of education, Polsinelli was the first lay chairman of the Rockhurst High School Board of Trustees, a member of the Board of Trustees for Rockhurst University and president of the UMKC Law Foundation.

“I have no complaints,” said Polsinelli. “I love what I’m doing today and it makes me very happy to come to work every day and serve clients.”

For more information contact Public Relations Manager Heather McMichael, 816-223-8780,

About Polsinelli Shughart
With more than 600 attorneys, Polsinelli Shughart ( is a national law firm and recognized leader in the areas of health care, financial services, real estate, life sciences, energy and business litigation. Serving corporate, institutional and individual clients, the firm builds enduring relationships by creating value through our legal services - with passion, ingenuity and a sense of urgency. The firm has offices in Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Kansas City; Los Angeles; New York; Phoenix; St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; and Wilmington, DE. In California, Polsinelli Shughart LLP.