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A NEW BEGINNING: The Kutak Rock name now adorns the John Q. Hammons Building downtown.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
A NEW BEGINNING: The Kutak Rock name now adorns the John Q. Hammons Building downtown.

2018 Year In Review: 9. Partners leave Lathrop Gage to open Kutak Rock office

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SPRINGFIELD, July—Six law firm partners left Lathrop Gage LLP this summer to open Omaha, Nebraska-based Kutak Rock LLP’s first Springfield office. The move prompted Kansas City-based Lathrop Gage to close its local office after 20 years operating in Springfield.

“We think Springfield is a growing, vibrant community that has a lot of potential,” Kutak Rock Chairman Jay Selanders said of opening the new office, its 18th, at the time. “These partners being a part of the deal really made it work.”

Lathrop Gage managing partner Cameron Garrison issued a statement on July 6 announcing its Springfield office would close July 26. A day later, the Kutak Rock office opened in the John Q. Hammons Building, 300 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway.

The partners who left for Kutak Rock are James Jeffries, James Meadows, Dan Nelson, Joseph Reid, Michael Textor and managing attorney Randell Wallace. They were joined by three associates, also from Lathrop Gage: Jarica Oeltjen, Josh Christensen and Taylor White, along with two of-counsel attorneys, Amanda Cochran and Elijah Haahr. Oeltjen has since moved to BKD LLP.

The opening of the Springfield office gave Kutak Rock, a national law firm, more than 530 attorneys companywide and added to its Midwest presence in Kansas City; Wichita, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; and Fayetteville, Rogers and Little Rock, Arkansas. Founded in 1965, Kutak Rock officials said its 2017 revenue was approximately $242 million.

Lathrop Gage had employed 25 professionals in Springfield, according to its website, and the office contributed to the firm’s roughly $131.5 million in total annual billings.

Kutak Rock’s new offices occupy the former JQH Hotels & Resorts headquarters, spanning 12,000 square feet on the top two floors of the Hammons Building.

By October, two other former Lathrop Gage attorneys found new homes at separate law firms: Doug Nickell moved to Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell and Brown PC, and Frank Evans joined Baird Lightner Millsap PC.

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