Dozens of Bowman and Brooke Partners Depart for South Carolina-based Firm
After gaining 22 partners from Minneapolis-based Bowman and Brooke, Nelson Mullins says it will open new offices in Minneapolis, San Diego, and Richmond. Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Dozens of Bowman and Brooke Partners Depart for South Carolina-based Firm

Twenty-two partners from Minneapolis-based Bowman and Brooke have left the firm to join Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, which says it will open a Twin Cities office.

Another national law firm has set its sights on Minneapolis.

Last week, 22 partners from Bowman and Brooke LLP,  headquartered in Minneapolis, departed to join South Carolina-based Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. Twelve of those partners are from Bowman and Brooke’s Minneapolis office; the others were based in California and Virginia. In a statement, Nelson Mullins said it will soon add nine additional Dallas-based partners from Bowman and Brooke.

Though the dozen Minnesota attorneys are changing firms, they won’t be going far: Nelson Mullins plans to open a new office in the Twin Cities. It will be the firm’s first office in Minnesota. Nelson Mullins already operates offices in 14 states. The firm plans to open two additional offices in San Diego, California; and Richmond, Virginia.

The firm has not yet signed a lease in the metro, but leaders are targeting an office somewhere in St. Louis Park, likely in the West End area. The Bowman and Brooke lawyers officially joined Nelson Mullins on Jan. 22. Additional support staff are slated to join them on Feb. 1.

Jim Lehman, Nelson Mullins’ managing partner, said that his firm has worked with the Bowman and Brooke partners for decades. “We’ve served as co-counsel with them on a number of matters in the past,” Lehman said. “We had a pre-existing relationship with them.”

For perspective, Bowman and Brooke is a much smaller firm than Nelson Mullins. Bowman and Brooke employs around 200 lawyers, while Nelson Mullins says it will soon have more than 900.

But Nelson Mullins’ leaders were attracted to Bowman and Brooke’s expertise in product liability and medical device cases. Bowman and Brooke has represented a number of prominent businesses with Minnesota connections, including Medtronic and Boston Scientific, as well as a long list of national corporations such as Siemens and Johnson & Johnson.

That likely means more business for Nelson Mullins. Several of Bowman and Brooke’s clients are expected to stay with their partners even after they’ve made the move.

Alana Bassin will serve as managing partner for Nelson Mullins in Minneapolis.

Alana Bassin, a former executive managing partner at Bowman and Brooke who’s been with the firm for over two decades and served as lead national counsel for many Fortune 500 companies, will act as the office managing partner for Nelson Mullins’ Twin Cities operation.

“We leave behind some good friends and good lawyers, and that’s always hard,” Bassin said. “But Nelson Mullins just provides a huge opportunity for us with product liability and a large bench. They’ve had some great successes with trials in the last year, in particular in the medical device arena.”

The Twin Cities legal industry was already in the midst of a reshuffling of sorts, even before Covid-19 struck. A number of downtown Minneapolis firms have executed mega mergers to improve their business prospects and attract new talent. That includes Faegre Baker Daniels, already one of the largest law firms in Minnesota. In February 2020, the firm merged with Drinker Biddle & Reath. One lawyer termed the phenomenon a “great realignment” that’s touched law firms across the country.