W. Russell Welsh, Chair Emeritus, guided the firm through strategic growth that positioned Polsinelli as a leading business and litigation law firm. During his over 20 year tenure as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 1998 through 2018, the firm increased from 90 attorneys to approximately 850 attorneys. Polsinelli was named one of the fastest growing law firms in the U.S., and is among the 100 largest firms in the nation. Under Welsh’s direction, the firm’s geographic presence has grown from three to 21 offices including in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Welsh helped direct the expansion of the firm’s national practices in Financial Services, Health Care, Real Estate, Business Law, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, and Litigation. Polsinelli is currently nationally ranked by Chambers USA for Health Care and Real Estate, and the firm's Health Care practice has grown to the largest health care practice in the United States (AHLA Connections, 2018) and was also twice named Health Care Firm of the Year by US News. The firm is also ranked in the top 30 law firms for Client Service Excellence in BTI’s 2019 Client Service A-Team analysis.
Mr. Welsh was formerly the chairman of the firm’s Litigation Department. He has extensive trial experience in the areas of products liability, business torts, trade secrets, commercial and bankruptcy litigation. He has acted as national and regional counsel for a number of Fortune 100 corporations. He has tried cases in 17 states and appeared in court in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Mr. Welsh is listed in Chambers USA as an Eminent Practitioner in General Commercial Litigation.
Mr. Welsh's civic involvement currently includes service on the boards of directors of the United Way of Greater Kansas City, the Starlight Theatre, and the Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City. He is past Chairman of the boards of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Greater Kansas City, the Starlight Theatre, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Mid-America Chapter. He also served on the boards of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, the Kansas City Area Development Council, and the Community Blood Center. He is a former chairman of an American Bar Association Products Liability Sub Committee. Mr. Welsh also served as the chair for many fundraisers for non-profit organizations in Kansas City.
Before joining the firm, Mr. Welsh was a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, in Washington, D.C.