Kutak Rock expands its legal practice into Florida with Tallahassee office


Kutak Rock is set to expand into Florida next month as it prepares to open its first law office in the state, which will be staffed with 10 members from Hopping Green & Sams.

Attorneys from HGS will officially join the firm on Nov. 15 and establish an office in Tallahassee. The new group will offer services in the areas of special tax districts, public finance and real estate transactions. In August, HGS members voted to dissolve the company and their attorneys have now started transitioning their clients over to Kutak Rock.

“Florida has long-represented opportunity for Kutak Rock,” said Jay Selanders, chair of Kutak Rock. “Our official expansion into the market allows us to grow the portfolio of services we offer including the full range of real estate services such as land use, environmental, leasing and tax credits, and public finance services such as bond finance, P3, affordable and senior housing, and tax.”

Debra Thompson, managing partner in Kutak Rock’s Atlanta office.

HGS was a Florida-based law firm, which for more than 40 years served clients in the areas of public finance, environmental, land use and real estate. It also represented community development and special districts in Florida and Alabama.

Kutak Rock ranked number five nationally in Refinitiv’s municipal bond counsel rankings for 2020 with a 3.8% market share, doing $17.3 billion of business in 499 deals; in the first three quarters of this year it comes in at number two with a 5.4% market share with $18.5 billion of business in 376 deals.

“Kutak Rock has a special district practice already, which is focused in Colorado, Nebraska, Utah and Kansas,” Debra Thompson, managing partner for Kutak Rock’s Atlanta regional office, told The Bond Buyer. “This gives us an opportunity to grow that practice and expand it into a new region of the country, the Southeast. And it is complementary to our traditional public finance practice.”

Joining Kutak Rock from HGS are attorneys Joseph Brown, Katie Buchanan, Michael Eckert, Wesley Haber, Jonathan Johnson, Tucker Mackie, Michelle Rigoni, Sarah Sandy, Lindsay Whelan and Alyssa Willson. Rounding out the group is a team of paralegals and administrative support staff.

“Our new colleagues are a great fit, a tremendous asset to the firm and we are excited to strengthen our presence in the Southeast,” Thompson said.

“For years our team has focused on the creation and operation of community development and other special districts across Florida and Alabama,” said Jonathan Johnson, president and a senior shareholder of HGS. “We are excited to bring our team’s experience to Kutak Rock and look forward to growing the firm’s practice throughout the state.”

Kutak Rock has more than 550 attorneys in offices around the country and represents clients in public finance, business and corporate, litigation and real estate law.

“This opens up new opportunities for us in one of the most populous states in the country,” Thompson said. “And that’s why we’re so excited about it.”

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