Husch Blackwell pushes into New England with healthcare firm combo

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REUTERS/Henry Romero

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  • 11 lawyers joining Husch in Boston, Providence
  • Merger closes "big hole" in region for firm's healthcare group

(Reuters) - Husch Blackwell has inked a deal to combine with healthcare law boutique Summit Health Law Partners, bringing the Midwest-founded firm into New England for the first time.

Husch said Tuesday it will open offices in Boston and Providence on Sept. 1 with 11 lawyers, including five partners, from the health law and litigation firm.

Summit changed its name from Barrett & Singal in January after an eight-lawyer group, including three partners, left for Hinckley Allen.

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Summit's Boston and Providence offices will bring Husch's office count to 25. The 800-lawyer firm recently added new offices in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area when it brought on 21 lawyers from Dentons in April.

Husch Blackwell, the product of a 2008 merger between two leading St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri-based firms, also opened a "virtual office," called The Link, in July 2020.

Leaders at Husch and Summit said the combination presents an opportunity to offer broader services to healthcare clients, citing a cultural fit between both firms.

"Our healthcare group has a very broad geography region and a lot of depth, but a big hole for us was New England, and the whole Northeast," said Curt Chase, who leads Husch Blackwell's healthcare, life sciences and education industry team.

Robert Blaisdell, Summit's managing partner, said the firm was looking to "provide additional services and additional depth of services" to clients. Noting Husch's lack of a presence in New England, Summit "saw immediately that we could help fill that void, and really bring a lot of value to both sides," Blaisdell said.

The five lawyers joining Husch as partners are Blaisdell, Crystal Bloom, Jeffrey Chase-Lubitz, Andrew Levine and Sean Ryan, Husch said in its announcement.

Husch's Chase said there is a "lot of consolidation going on in the healthcare industry," and the combined firm wants to be a full-service provider for those clients. He cited academic medicine, digital health and behavioral health as areas in which the firm will be able to better serve clients.

The combination of the firms "allows us to expand where neither firm could on its own necessarily expand," Chase said.

Husch is the latest Big Law firm to make its way into or expand in the Boston market, a healthcare and life sciences hub, this year. Others include Barnes & Thornburg and Cooley. Chase said Husch wants to grow the Boston and Providence offices beyond their healthcare focus to serve other industry clients as well.

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com