Barnes & Thornburg hires healthcare compliance team from Bass Berry in DC

Arrivals include former Bass Berry DC managing partner John Kelly, who joins as chair of Barnes & Thornburg's healthcare department and industry practice


Am Law 100 firm Barnes & Thornburg has hired three lawyers from Bass Berry & Sims to boost its healthcare fraud and compliance practice in Washington DC. 

John Kelly, who served as Nashville-based Bass Berry’s managing partner in DC for just over a decade, joins the firm to chair its 80-lawyer healthcare department and healthcare industry practice. He arrives alongside Jacquelyn Papish, who joins as a partner after a year as an associate at Bass Berry, and associate AJ Bolan. 

The Indianapolis-headquartered firm said Kelly’s appointment will bolster its ‘go-to market strategy’ of advising healthcare and life sciences companies on compliance, regulatory, business and transactional matters. 

Kelly worked as a federal prosecutor for the US Department of Justice before switching to private practice in 2008, when he joined legacy firm Fulbright & Jaworski as senior counsel. He was promoted to partner in 2011 and joined Bass Berry the following year, assuming the dual roles of DC managing partner and co-chair of the firm’s compliance and government investigations practice and representing clients in healthcare enforcement, regulatory and compliance matters. 

Roscoe Howard Jr, the firm’s managing partner in DC, said that Kelly’s strong ties to healthcare leaders in the capital coupled with his reputation in the industry would be a catalyst for further expansion of the firm’s healthcare groups. 

Papish, meanwhile, joined Bass Berry in 2020 from Boies Schiller Flexner, where she was an associate. She focuses her practice on high-stakes commercial litigation matters in the healthcare and technology sectors and regularly advises clients on Medicare and Medicaid compliance, among other matters. 

Robert Grand, Barnes & Thornburg’s managing partner, said: “John’s natural abilities as a leader and experience in healthcare fraud matters, shored up by Jacquelyn’s excellent track record in compliance and litigation, will help us build on our strong foundation. We have made significant investments in healthcare and life sciences and aim to keep strengthening our national practices in these key industry sectors.”

Kelly added: “Barnes & Thornburg is a key player in the healthcare and life sciences industries, and I look forward to continuing that momentum as the firm looks to further build out its healthcare practice around the country.” 

Last year, the firm hired a quartet of IP lawyers from Nutter McClennen & Fish to open an office in Boston, its 20th nationwide. 

A spokesperson for Bass Berry said: “We are grateful for John’s leadership at our firm as well as the contributions of two attorneys who will be joining him. While we wish them well in their new roles, we look forward to the next chapter for our Washington, D.C. office, which has grown to more than 30 attorneys over the last ten years. We are proud to have a robust leadership pipeline that has positioned our firm for long-term success in a notoriously competitive market and will continue to grow our nationwide compliance and government investigations practice to meet the needs of our clients.”

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