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Ozarks Elder Law buys Marshfield firm

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As the year winds down, Ozarks Elder Law LLC has been ramping up activity, closing this week on a Marshfield law office acquisition and expansion of its Springfield firm.

Lori Rook, owner of Ozarks Elder Law, said the Springfield-based law firm on Dec. 27 acquired Marshfield-based RTR Attorneys along with its building at 107 E. Jefferson St. for an undisclosed price. Rook said her firm, which focuses on legal needs of the elderly and disabled, including estate and asset protection planning, is now hiring for the practice located on the Marshfield square.

The Marshfield firm was not going to remain in operation beyond this year, Rook said, as two of its partners, Chuck Replogle and John Tyrrell, were each elected to political office in November. Replogle will begin serving in January as Webster County Associate Circuit Judge, while Tyrrell was elected as the new prosecuting attorney in Wright County. Rook said the third partner, Joseph Robertson, would continue practicing law on his own in Springfield.

Ozarks Elder Law also had an election-related departure in its firm earlier this year, as former partner Jessica Kruse left in August after being elected Christian County Associate Circuit Judge. Rook said she has since acquired all of Kruse’s shares in the business for an undisclosed amount.

Rook said RTR Attorneys approached her firm about the possible transaction, adding she was interested in establishing a footprint in Marshfield and the Interstate 44 corridor in Webster County.

“It’s another county we’re going to have a big presence in,” Rook said.

The firm was formed in 2013 by the merger of Kruse Legal Services LLC with Zerrer Elder Law Office LLC, according to Springfield Business Journal archives. It has offices in Springfield, Ozark, Nixa, Joplin and Cassville.

The staff size for the Marshfield office is yet to be determined, she said, noting the firm will utilize at least half of the building’s 3,200 square feet. The remainder of the space will likely be leased out, she added.

In addition to its Marshfield acquisition, Ozarks Elder Law doubled the size of its Springfield office at 2832 S. Ingram Mill Road, Suite 100. A 3,000-square-foot expansion project is scheduled for completion today, Rook said, providing the firm with a total of 6,000 square feet of space. The project, which she said has been ongoing for six weeks, added nine offices and two conference rooms to its existing building.

The firm now takes up four of the five suites in the development owned by John Martin Property Management LLC, Rook said, declining to disclose the renovation costs or lease terms.

“We’ve needed the space for over a year,” she said. “We’ve been busting at the seams.”

With a current staff of 16, including seven attorneys, Rook expects more hiring to take place in 2019, with four or five staffers to be added to the payroll. She noted the firm started with just four employees five years ago.

She credited the growing baby boomer population, along with the firms’ marketing strategy and community education about the need for estate and long-term planning as contributors to the company’s growth.

“The need for our services is not going away,” she said.

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