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Former Lathrop Gage LLP attorneys now work across the street in the John Q. Hammons Building
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
Former Lathrop Gage LLP attorneys now work across the street in the John Q. Hammons Building

Kutak Rock picks John Q. Hammons Building

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Last edited 1:49 p.m., Aug. 6, 2018

Quickly after six Lathrop Gage LLP partners agreed to open Kutak Rock LLP’s Springfield office, the Omaha, Nebraska-based law firm has a home in the Queen City.

Randell Wallace, who worked as partner in charge for Lathrop Gage’s Springfield office that’s now closed, said Kutak Rock opened July 27 in the John Q. Hammons Building, 300 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway. The firm plans to occupy the former JQH Hotels & Resorts headquarters.

Wallace is among 11 attorneys who exited Lathrop Gage, which opted to close its office in the BKD LLP building across the street from the John Q. Hammons Building. Lathrop Gage’s five other active partners – James Jeffries, James Meadows, Dan Nelson, Joseph Reid and Michael Textor – are joined by associates Jarica Oeltjen, Josh Christensen and Taylor White, along with two of-counsel attorneys, Amanda Cochran and Elijah Haahr.

“We think Kutak is going to be a great fit in Springfield,” Wallace said July 27, as he and other new Kutak Rock staff members underwent training. “We’re very excited about retaining and growing the involvement we have in the Springfield community.”

Kutak Rock is temporarily leasing the first two floors of the nine-story John Q. Hammons Building from Atrium Hospitality LP, which in June took over management of JQH Hotels & Resorts’ properties via bankruptcy proceedings.

Within six months, Wallace said the law firm plans to relocate to the top two floors, which together span 12,000 square feet. Remodeling work is underway on the eighth and ninth floors, where JQH Hotels & Resorts corporate employees operate.

Kelsi Hall, president of Plaza Realty & Management Services LLC, a brokerage firm that joined Atrium and owner JD Holdings LLC, said the ownership group indicated to her it would release additional information in the near future on the recent transaction via a news release. However, she was uncertain of a timeline for the release or its content. She referred additional questions to Sheri Smith, president of Texas-based WiseHive Public Relations LLC, which handles public communications for Atrium Hospitality. Smith did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

“This is kind of a signal to the market that they’re ready to start doing deals,” Wallace said of Atrium and JD Holdings.

With the addition of the Springfield office, Kutak Rock has some 530 attorneys companywide, with a Midwest presence in Kansas City; Wichita, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; and Fayetteville, Rogers and Little Rock, Arkansas. Kutak Rock started in 1965, and its 2017 revenue was approximately $242 million, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Lathrop Gage had operated in Springfield for 20 years, originally in Hammons Tower before moving to the BKD building in early 2013.

Reporter Mike Cullinan contributed

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