Dispute resolution
Husch Blackwell

A force among Midwestern firms, Husch Blackwell is rooted in Missouri and boasts a network of outposts spanning beyond to the jurisdictions of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Arizona, California, and a host of other states. The firm’s clients note its “diverse attorneys with expertise in a broad range of topics,” and go on to rave that “all aspects of litigation are done well by Husch Blackwell.”

Marnie Jensen of the firm’s Omaha office recently obtained victory on behalf of two Lancaster County election commissioners in a case before the Nebraska Supreme Court which displayed the potential to critically derail the state’s electoral proceedings. The matter, arising from newly stoked inquiries into the constitutionality of the state’s Honest Election Law of 1913, sought to address whether Nebraska election commissioners – who are by statute selected by means of gubernatorial appointment – constitute county officers, and if such appointment stands in violation of the Nebraska constitution. Jensen was successful in achieving an affirmation by the Nebraska Supreme Court of an earlier district court ruling which found that such election commissioners are not to be understood legally as county officers, circumventing what could have been an unprecedentedly disruptive interpolation into a state’s democratic process.

Based in Kansas City, Beau Jackson is newly recognized by Benchmark for his achievements in the sphere of intellectual property. Jackson currently serves alongside St. Louis’ Rudy Telscher as lead counsel to gym equipment manufacturer TuffStuff Fitness as the company faces nine patent infringement claims which threaten its very existence in tandem with complaints to the International Trade Commission which seek to bar TuffStuff from importing production inputs from overseas. As of this year, Benchmark also recognizes Oakland, CA’s Jennifer Lee, a toxic torts specialist, and St. Louis’ Jeff Jensen, whose practice finds its focus on white-collar criminal matters. Catherine Hanaway, who also deals in white-collar matters from Husch Blackwell’s St. Louis outfit, continues to be recognized for her experience in the field, additionally serving in the critical role of firm chair. The firm’s St. Louis-based practitioners also include class action and product liability specialist Joseph Orlet, who currently serves as lead counsel to International Paint in a liability matter arising from allegations that extreme heat-resistant coatings for steel beams provided by the company to a Texas natural gas export facility were defective.

In Kansas City, Jeffrey Simon is active in the role of lead counsel to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners defending a member of the KCPD against topical claims of civil rights violations in connection with the officer’s fatal shooting of a suspect who was being apprehended.



Polsinelli has grown beyond its Kansas City roots to inhabit various strategic locations throughout the country, often attracting local talent in the surrounding area. The firm’s aggressive expansion over the years has equipped it with breadth and depth in many areas of litigation.  
     Bouncing between Seattle and Chicago, Gary Hood maintains an intellectual practice touches on all facets of patent, trademark and trade dress IP litigation. Chicago’s Mary Clare Bonaccorsi serves as Polsinelli’s Cross-Department Litigation Chair. She is entrusted to map the overall litigation strategy for the firm.  Bonaccorsi’s practice mainly focuses on the healthcare industry, routinely leading high-stakes corporate internal investigations for clients in healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. Additionally, her casework often involves false claims act litigation before judges and juries in both state and federal courts throughout the country and she has several high-profile cases under her belt. New additions from the Chicago office include Thomas Gemmell and Daniel ReinbergGemmell’s practice mixes IP and business litigation. He leads several industry-specific practices, serving as lead of the unmanned systems and advanced robotics practice and co-lead of both the aviation practice and the transportation and logistics practice. Reinberg like Bonaccorsi concentrates his practice on the healthcare industry. He represents organizations, corporations, and providers in a variety of cases, including civil and criminal matters, healthcare and securities fraud, and lawsuits arising under the False Claims Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  
     John Peterson, a new addition to this year’s rankings, bridges a geographic and practice divide. Based in Nashville but also operating out of Chattanooga as well as Los Angeles, Peterson is a commercial litigator with vast experience in securities as well as real estate, and he is yet another Polsinelli partner devoted to healthcare litigation, an industry essential to Tennessee's economy. In Atlanta, Brian McEvoys white-collar practice is dedicated to fraud and abuse in the healthcare industry.  Farah Nicol operates out of the firm’s Raleigh and Los Angeles offices and serves chair of the firm’s litigation department -- the first leader to not be based in Kansas City, the firm’s mainstay. Nicol’s primary focus is on product liability and toxic tort litigation.  

Labor and employment

Polsinelli has maintained a commitment to upholding its labor and employment practice, seen recently in its aggressive growth and expansion in the area. While the firm continues to deepen its bench and expand its team across DenverLos Angeles and Dallas, theKansas City office maintains its title as the firm’s stronghold.  

     Denise Drake, chair of the labor and employment practice, is among the firm’s leading, Missouri-basedlitigators.Drake is a leader through and through – leading the practice, the expansion, and clients in their disputes. She has been consistently distinguished as a Labor & Employment Star since its inception, maintaining the status with a roster of notable class action disputes.  

     New additions to the rankings this year include Los Angeles-based litigator September Rea and Dallas’ Angelo SpinolaWhile Rea’s practice involves the full spectrum of employment litigation, she is especially active in class action disputes arising under federal and California laws, such as the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Rea is defending clients in a series of putative wage and hour class actions, and individual-plaintiff disputes. In separate but related disputes, she represented a client before the California Labor Commissioner as plaintiffs. Spinola specializes in handling labor and employment disputes on behalf of clients in the home health industry, particularly hospice and homecare companies. He recently resolved alawsuidefending Bluebird Homecare of Alabama against a plaintiff alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) challenging the company’s alleged practice of not including certain nondiscretionary bonuses in the regular rate when calculating overtime pay. Spinola is handling several other FLSA cases involving the healthcare industry, including two with Colorado-based litigator Donald Samuels on the team. Samuels heads the firm’s employment litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution group.