Barnes & Thornburg adds healthcare and capital markets partners for Nashville debut

Five partners join from Holland & Knight, Baker Donelson and Bass Berry & Sims as US firm continues rapid expansion across the country

Jay Knight Image courtesy of Barnes & Thornburg

Barnes & Thornburg has added five partners from rivals including Holland & Knight and Baker Donelson to launch an office in Nashville.

The new office will be led by capital markets partner Jay Knight, who has joined from Bass Berry & Sims alongside Taylor Wirth, also a capital markets partner. Meantime partners JD Thomas and Elisa Harris have joined the healthcare practice from Holland & Knight and the general counsel role at Nashville healthcare company Wayspring respectively alongside white collar litigation partner Joy Boyd Longnecker, who was previously at Baker Donelson. 

The new office will be the 23rd nationally for Barnes & Thornburg and follows the Indianapolis-based firm launching in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Boston over the past two years and in New York in 2020.  

“Nashville has long been a strategic priority for us given our existing clients in the area, the prominence of healthcare in the market and the growing number of Fortune 500 companies putting down roots in the city,” said Andrew Detherage, Barnes & Thornburg’s managing partner. “We are thrilled with the team of partners joining the firm, and we look forward to growing the office.”

Knight and Wirth will join the securities and capital markets practice in the firm’s corporate department, with a focus on securities offerings, M&A, real estate capital markets and general representation of public companies and underwriters. Knight, who previously was with the Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Corporation Finance in Washington DC, will serve as co-chair of the practice. 

“Jay and Taylor’s capital markets practice is broad and sophisticated, whether it’s advising on public M&A transactions, IPOs, secondary offerings or structured finance deals, counselling clients on evolving securities regulations, or any number of other issues critical to participants in today’s public markets,” said Jahan Sharifi, chair-elect of the firm’s corporate department. “They are an ideal fit for our increasingly high-profile financial services practice – and their arrival in Nashville will undoubtedly drive its continued growth.”

The firm said the Nashville office was also a “key component” in the growth of its 90-lawyer strong national healthcare practice, with Thomas, Harris and Longnecker set to serve the region’s healthcare market. 

Thomas and Harris advise healthcare clients on matters including regulatory compliance, fraud and abuse, government investigations, operations, managed care contracting, payor audits and policy. Longnecker and Thomas also both bring prosecutorial backgrounds and extensive defense work within the healthcare industry, which add depth to the firm’s white collar and investigations team. 

“Barnes & Thornburg has long recognised the strategic importance of Nashville as a hub of innovation and expertise in the healthcare industry,” said John Kelly, chair of the healthcare industry practice who joined the firm last year from Bass Berry & Sims.  

“An expansion of our national healthcare practice into Nashville simply made sense, and it allows Barnes & Thornburg to continue to serve existing clients in the region while attracting new clients to the firm’s large geographic footprint and diverse practice areas,” he added. 

Current Barnes & Thornburg associates Megan Krivoshey and Molly Sigler will round out the Nashville group, while chief client officer Eleanor Smith and Lauren Parkhurst, senior client growth manager for healthcare, also will be based in the new office.

Other firms to look to Nashville recently as it continues to grow as a business hub include Womble Bond Dickinson, which launched there last July with the hire of corporate partner Masami Izumida Tyson from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. In 2021, K&L Gates added 18 partners from four Nashville firms including Waller and Bass Berry & Sims to open an office there

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