published Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Polsinelli expands law firm into Chattanooga market

A national law firm with nearly 700 attorneys is opening a regional office in Chattanooga.

Four attorneys, led by longtime local attorney Greg Leitner, have joined Polsinelli and are working out of a Warehouse Row office. Polsinelli has offices in 16 cities across the United States and focuses on business, real estate, high-end litigation and financing transactions.

Leitner, who previously worked at Husch Eppenberger and Leitner and Williams, said Polsinelli's leadership and rate of growth persuaded him to head up the new office in the Scenic City.

"If you're a company in East Tennessee and you have business in LA or New York City, you may not want to pay a lawyer $1,000 an hour and use someone you don't know," he said. "So you could call someone here to manage it, with better pricing, and avoid getting lost in the shuffle."

Polsinelli was named the fastest growing law firm in the United States during the last five years by The American Lawyer and is well-known for handling health care cases.

The company's expansion into Chattanooga is part of a national trend of growth said Craig Smith, president of the Chattanooga Bar Association.

"You're not seeing blockbuster law firm merges anymore," he said. "That was a pre-recession thing. What you see instead is national firms that want to expand going out and picking up individual offices, or smaller offices, or even picking off certain attorneys from another law firm to open an office."

And Chattanooga is a good spot to set up regional offices because it's a two-hour drive from Atlanta, Nashville and Knoxville, said Chattanooga Bar Association president-elect Tim Mickel.

"I think first of all it's a testament to the amount of industry and growth we're seeing in this area," he said. "One of the fastest growing economic regions in the country is the Southeast, so you're seeing law firms that don't traditionally have a Southeast reach looking to this area as a possible area of growth for their practices."

Still this office probably won't have a huge impact on Chattanooga's legal market, Smith said.

"You still have the same number of attorneys today that you had two months ago, they just have different business cards," he said. "I think what it does offer, however, is a chance for Chattanooga to get some more exposure on a national level."

Joining Leitner at the Polsnelli office are K. Chris Collings, Ralph M. Killebrew Jr., and Dustin J. Manning.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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