Eight of the nine Wichita lawyers with Omaha-based Kutak Rock left the firm on Friday to start a new Wichita office for Los Angeles-based Lewis Brisbois.
“It’s a huge move without going anywhere,” says Alan Rupe, managing partner for the new office. “We’ve in fact negotiated with Kutak, and we’re going to assume the same space we’re in out here in the Waterfront.”
Attorney Richard Olmstead will remain with Kutak Rock in a new office.
“We will keep a presence in Wichita,” Olmstead says. “Right now we’re in the process of trying to identify space.”
Rupe says the lawyers who left Kutak Rock specialize in employment law and education law. Olmstead is a commercial litigation attorney who also spends about 20 percent of his time on employment law. He says he works quite a bit with Kutak Rock attorneys elsewhere.
“It’s just a good fit for me,” he says of staying.
In addition to being managing partner of the Wichita office, Rupe also will be vice chair of the employment and labor law practice within Lewis Brisbois.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to join a firm that has close to 1,000 lawyers,” he says.
Lewis Brisbois has several offices, but Rupe says, “They don’t have a large presence in the heartland, and so they asked us to join. … Shortly, we’ll be working on opening a Kansas City office.”
Rupe says it made sense for the eight attorneys, along with their eight staff members and legal assistants, to join Lewis Brisbois.
“We’ve had a number of cases that we’ve handled nationally both on the East Coast and the West Coast, and our practice has really grown to a national scope,” he says. “This really gives us a longer runway to service our clients.”