Legal Industry

Trusts and estates practice splits with Bryan Cave to join private wealth boutique

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A view of the Chicago skyline August 13, 2009. REUTERS/John Gress

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(Reuters) - A Chicago-based law firm catering to high net worth clients is getting a big boost thanks to the arrival of 13 lawyers from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

With the addition of 11 partners, one counsel and one associate from BCLP, Harrison & Held's headcount has jumped to more than 60 attorneys. The private wealth and estate-planning firm had offices in Naples, Florida; Springfield, Illinois; Boulder, Colorado; and the Windy City. It can now boast offices in Atlanta, Denver, St. Louis and Edwardsville, Illinois, as well.

The new hires will bolster both the firm's capabilities and reputation, founding partner Louis Harrison said Monday.

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"Because of people’s change of domicile these days, it’s incredibly important to be national in your estate-planning practice," Harrison said. "This is our drive to create, really, the only nation estate planning practice in the U.S."

At Harrison & Held, the incoming lawyers will be central to the firm's practice, as opposed to serving as an outgrowth of their prior firm's corporate department, said partner Tiffany McKenzie, who worked at BCLP for 10 years.

"It’s the difference between the value-add versus being the value," McKenzie said, adding that they can now be more creative with their practices and their rates.

The BCLP group represents business owners, athletes, entertainers and families with generational wealth, McKenzie said. She estimated that the group brought in "several millions of dollars in profit" at BCLP, adding that nearly all of their clients have migrated to Harrison & Held with them.

Apart from McKenzie, Harrison & Held also added Kimberly Civins, Brent Howard, Michael Bland, Linsey Glosier, Stephanie Moll Kriegel, Stephen Daiker, Steve Dawson, Jarriot Rook, Alan Singer and Dyke Arboneaux as partners. Melissa Sprinkle and Lawrence Brody joined the firm as an associate and senior counsel, respectively.

Harrison & Held now has an international component to its practice, as Arboneaux works strictly with people who are not U.S. citizens or who share citizenship between countries, McKenzie said.

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Reporting by David Thomas

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