Hughes Hubbard & Reed is making the move to America’s heartland on January 1 of next year with the addition of a products liability litigation team from the Kansas City-based Shook, Hardy & Bacon, the two firms confirmed last week.
The surprising addition for the New York-based Hughes Hubbard comes as regulatory changes prompt the tobacco companies to insist that their outside law firms cut their ties to the industry rivals. In adding the Shook group that totals somewhere from 20 to 25 lawyers, analysts and staffers. Hughes Hubbard will also take over all of Shook’s work for Lorillard Tobacco in a transition expected to span over several months, according to the Shook chair John Murphy.
Meanwhile, Shook will continue to represent their longtime client Philip Morris USA, says Murphy.
When it comes to the growth factor, Hughes Hubbard–which topped The American Lawyer’s A-list for the first time in this year–is well known to proceed very cautiously. The 123-year-old firm last opened a new office back in 2003, and then it ventured over to Jersey City to service a few pharmaceutical clients. The firm’s other offices are out in Los Angeles, Miami, Paris, Tokyo and also Washington D.C. According to the sibling publication The National Law Journal, at the last count the six non-New York offices combined had accounted for much less than a third of the firm’s over 300 lawyers.
Hughes Hubbard’s managing partner Theodore Mayer has recently said that the Kansas City office presents a chance to ”strengthen the roster of jury trial lawyers” within the firm and to ”add some depth and reach out to our national litigation practice.” Mayer has also said that the firms does expect the Kansas City team to handle all of the work for the companies besides Lorillard, though he acknowledges that the tobacco cases are going to take up a lot of the attorney’s time.
The group that will be arriving from Shook is going to include six partners and three of the counsel, this is according to Murphey, who also added that a handful of people are moving from Shook’s office down in Florida. Mayer says that ultimately a total of about 30 people will help launch the Kansas City office.
That office is going to be located at 2345 Grand in Kansas City’s Crown Center District, says Mayer. The building, that has been designed by the famed architect Mile van der Rohe, is currently home to a few other law firms, also including Armstrong Teasdale.
Mayer has acknowledged that firm has been very careful about where it chooses to open the new offices, and it is going to be where there has been some existing clients. ”We pick out spots to invest in where it ties in with our strengths,” says Meyer, he also adds that the new office fits into that strategy.