Crowell & Moring launches in Denver with seven-lawyer team

The Continental Divide is seen in the background behind the downtown city skyline in Denver, Colorado, U.S., November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
  • Former Armstrong Teasdale litigator Meshach Rhoades to lead new office
  • Crowell recently expanded into Chicago and Indianapolis

(Reuters) - Washington, D.C.-founded Crowell & Moring on Thursday became the latest firm to open an outpost in Denver, hiring a litigation partner from Armstrong Teasdale and three corporate lawyers from Hogan Lovells to launch what it says will be a growing presence in the region.

Meshach Rhoades, who spent the last six years at Armstrong Teasdale, will lead the new office. She is joined by corporate partner Katy Raffensperger and associates Laura Martinez and Melissa Moravec from Hogan Lovells, as well as three current Crowell lawyers based in the area.

"It is a growing market, there's a lot of technology, there's a lot of opportunity in the Denver market, and I think that's a natural fit for the Crowell & Moring strategy," Rhoades said. She said she plans to expand the firm's footprint with more lateral hires.

The Crowell lawyers joining the office are senior counsel Betsy Derwinski, counsel Suzanne Walts and associate Sarah Rippy. Derwinski and Walts are members of the firm's technology and intellectual property department, while Rippy is part of its privacy and cybersecurity practice, the firm said.

With the initial group all being female attorneys, Rhoades, who also served as chief diversity officer at Armstrong Teasdale, said diversity and inclusion is going to be an important part of her recruiting effort.

According to Phil Inglima, Crowell's chair, the Denver launch aligns with the firm's growth strategy, which emphasizes clients in the aerospace, healthcare, financial services, energy and natural resources sectors.

"The state is very friendly towards business expansion ... and that speaks to real opportunity going forward," Inglima said. "So to have people who do transactional work, who do core regulatory business work, who can do major controversy litigation, all at the very start of this office – that's the kind of alignment we were looking for."

The move marks the firm's latest expansion outside its D.C. home base. Crowell in July combined with Chicago-based intellectual property firm Brinks Gilson & Lione, adding a team of more than 100 tech-focused IP lawyers and scientific professionals in Chicago and Indianapolis.

Crowell also absorbed two dozen lawyers through its acquisition of Wall Street corporate law boutique Kibbe & Orbe in April and added four of the last remaining attorneys at the now-defunct legal services company Atrium last April. Overall, the firm says it has added more than 95 lateral partners in the last three years.

Inglima said Crowell is still pursuing more opportunities for expansion, including in China, where he expects a team of attorneys to join in Shenzhen once they get regulatory approval.

Read more:

Crowell & Moring to merge with IP firm Brinks in Midwest expansion

Crowell & Moring snaps up remaining Kibbe & Orbe lawyers in Wall Street expansion

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Xiumei Dong covers legal industry news, with a focus on law firm strategy and growth, in-house counsel and the Washington, D.C., legal market. Reach her at