Husch Blackwell is broadening its geographical reach by combining with Summit Health Law Partners and expanding its operations to New England, it announced Tuesday.
The combination with the 11-attorney boutique healthcare firm will result in new offices for Kansas City, Mo.-headquartered Husch Blackwell in Boston and Providence, R.I., as of Sept. 1.
Earlier this year, Husch Blackwell brought aboard a 21-lawyer product liability and mass tort litigation team from Dentons, and opened new offices in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. The firm now has some two dozen offices in the United States.
Law firms recently have been drawn to New England, particularly Boston, for its vibrant life sciences sector where there is a surfeit of deal activity and intellectual property work protecting and marketing new drugs and medical devices.
“We did not have the physical presence in New England, and this consolidation helps us fill out the footprint we were lacking,” said Curt Chase, leader of Husch Blackwell’s healthcare industry group, in an interview.
“Boston is a traditional hub for healthcare and life sciences innovation, and we look forward to building on the excellent reputation that Summit Health Law has earned in that market.”
Both Husch Blackwell and Summit, which started out as Donoghue & Barrett in 1988, handle legal matters for a range of health care providers, including hospitals, hospital systems, and physicians’ groups. Chase noted that Husch Blackwell clients include a group of academic medical centers, a growing area of business. The firm has more than 140 lawyers in its healthcare practice.
Husch Blackwell, in May, won a federal appeals court ruling affirming a lower-court dismissal of a whistleblower case against its Georgia-based client, Bethany Hospice and Palliative Care. The accusations centered around an alleged kickback referral scheme involving Medicare and Medicaid claims.
Last month Husch Blackwell represented UpHealth Holdings, Inc., a digital health company, in a business combination with GigCapital2, Inc. and Cloudbreak Health, a leading telemedicine and video medical interpretation solutions provider. The result of the SPAC transaction is UpHealth, Inc., which is publicly traded.
Robert Blaisdell, who has been Summit Health Law’s managing partner, said in an interview that the “depth and capabilities” of Husch Blackwell, plus “its focus on client service to healthcare providers, and its ability to deliver value through innovative approaches to pricing and legal project management” made it an attractive merger partner.
“Husch Blackwell is expanding in New England,” Blaisdell quipped, “and we are expanding nationally.”
Five of Summit’s attorneys will join as Husch Blackwell partners. Along with Blaisdell, they include Crystal Bloom, Jeffrey Chase-Lubitz, Andrew Levine, and Sean Ryan.
In addition to opening new brick and mortar offices, Husch Blackwell also opened a virtual office in July 2020 called “The Link,” which allows lawyers to work from any location.
Some other Big Law firms have since loosened their rules to hire in office-less regions due to a recent high demand for legal talent combined with improving attitudes toward work from home since the onset of Covid-19.