Crowell & Moring to launch in Denver with seven-lawyer team

Firm adds litigation partner from Armstrong Teasdale and corporate trio from Hogan Lovells for the launch

Denver skyline at noon

Crowell & Moring has set up shop in Denver, hiring a litigation partner from Armstrong Teasdale and three corporate lawyers from Hogan Lovells to spearhead the new regional base. 

Meshach Rhoades, who joins the Washington DC firm after a six-year stint at St Louis-based Armstrong Teasdale, will lead the office as managing partner. She will be supported by an all-female team composed of corporate partner Katy Raffensperger and associates Laura Martinez and Melissa Moravec from Hogan Lovells, as well as three Crowell lawyers based in the area.

Philip Inglima, Crowell’s chairman, said Denver's business strengths across the aerospace, healthcare, financial services, energy, technology and life sciences sectors align well with the firm’s existing platform, adding that the new team will deepen Crowell’s regulatory, corporate and transactional and healthcare litigation capabilities. 

Rhoades has litigated a broad range of cases in the areas including contracts, intellectual property, real estate, business torts, class actions and labor and employment in state and federal courts across the US. At Armstrong Teasdale she most recently served as chief diversity officer, leading the execution of the firm’s strategy on diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“Meshach has an impressive breadth of experience that complements the capabilities of our litigation and torts groups. She also brings charismatic leadership skills, which will be of great benefit as we focus on serving the broad needs of our clients and growing our team in Colorado,” said Jennifer Romano, co-chair of Crowell’s litigation group. 

Raffensperger, meanwhile, specialises in handling corporate transactions in the healthcare sector, as well as the hospitality, sports and entertainment, technology and manufacturing industries. She joins Crowell as a partner after seven years at Hogan Lovells, where she was a senior associate. 

Crowell's healthcare practice co-chair, Paul Morning, described Raffensperger and her team from Hogan Lovells as "a perfect fit as we continue to grow to meet the needs of our clients, given their extensive experience advising healthcare payers in the expansion of their service offerings.”

The Crowell lawyers moving into the new Denver base are senior counsel Betsy Derwinski, counsel Suzanne Walts and associate Sarah Rippy. Derwinsky and Walts are members of the firm’s technology and intellectual property group, while Rippy belongs to its privacy and cybersecurity practice. 

The firm described the Denver office launch as the next step in its ‘strategic growth’ agenda in the US, which recently saw it absorb Chicago-based Brinks Gilson & Lione in July, a move that created a team of more than 100 tech-focused IP lawyers and scientific professionals and added new offices in Chicago and Indianapolis. 

And back in March, the firm joined forces with Wall Street boutique Kibbe & Orbe to expand its financial services offering. The deal added 13 partners – and 24 lawyers in total – to Crowell’s New York, London and Washington offices, including Kibbe's managing partner and executive committee chair Jennifer Grady, London office managing partner Andrew Martin and its three founding partners, Jonathan Kibbe, William Orbe and Michael Mann. 

Other firms to plant their flag in Denver this year include Clyde & Co, which opened its doors in the Mile High City in May as part of a wider expansion move focused on the Southwestern US following the arrival of a team of insurance lawyers from Foran Glennon Palandech Ponzi & Rudloff. 

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