Venable debuts in Colorado with eight-lawyer team from Sherman & Howard

Trial lawyer James Sawtelle joins to lead new office in Denver alongside seven commercial and employment litigators and counsellors

National US firm Venable has expanded into Colorado, hiring a team of eight lawyers from Sherman & Howard to open an office in Denver. 

The new office will be led by trial lawyer James Sawtelle, who joins from Denver-based Sherman alongside commercial litigation partners Jessica Arett and Nick DeWeese, labour and employment partners Emily Keimig, Beth Ann Lennon and Heather Vickles, a counsel and an associate. 

“Today’s announcement reflects a continuation of the firm’s expansion into robust legal markets that are important to our clients,” said Venable chairman Stu Ingis. “Entering the Denver market with such a strong group of well-respected lawyers continues our growth in a way that is consistent with our firm values and culture.”

The move sees Venable become the latest large law firm to set up shop in Denver’s expanding legal market. Frost Brown Todd, Womble Bond Dickinson, Foley Hoag, Crowell & Moring, Clark Hill, Dickinson Wright and London-founded Clyde & Co have all opened there in recent years, while Cozen O’Connor and Wilson Sonsini have recently launched offices recently in nearby Boulder. 

For his part Sawtelle, who practises at the intersection of commercial litigation and intellectual property, brings more than three decades of experience as a trial lawyer to Venable. He has tried to verdict more than 50 civil jury and bench cases in state and federal courts, and has also played an active role in arguing and briefing a number of appellate cases. He has spent the past decade at Sherman, before which he was a partner at BCLP and Faegre Drinker and served a year as assistant attorney general for the State of Colorado. 

Also joining the Denver office is Venable intellectual property partner Elizabeth Manno. She will continue to focus her national practice on technology disputes, including patent infringement, licensing and litigation.

The Denver launch is Venable’s third in recent years. In 2020 the 900-lawyer firm opened in Chicago with the hire of a construction law group from local firm Schiff Hardin; the office has since grown to about 25 lawyers practising across areas including corporate and litigation. 

Last year Venable entered Florida’s hot legal market when it absorbed 30-lawyer firm Genovese Joblove & Battista in a move that saw it gain offices across the state in Miami, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. 

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