Business of Law

15-Lawyer Ore. Firm Opens 2nd Office--in Pa.; Ex-K&L Gates Atty to Build 'Virtual' Enviro Office

A Portland, Ore., law firm has made an unusual move, opening a second office in Pittsburgh last week.

Headed by a former associate of K&L Gates, Phillip Bender, the new office of Bateman Seidel Miner Blomgren Chellis & Gram also is taking a cutting-edge approach to law practice, reports the Legal Intelligencer.

Although Bender expects the Pittsburgh office to grow over the next two years, he also expects it to capitalize on Bateman Seidel’s already lean set-up and operate as a “virtual law firm” serving clients throughout the country, he tells the legal publication. He describes his move to the small firm as an exciting opportunity to, in effect, build his own practice from the ground up.

“In complex environmental litigation, your clients don’t really come to your office. You go to them,” says partner J. W. Ring of Bender’s new firm.

The two men reportedly worked together at Preston Gates & Ellis before the Pacific Northwest firm merged with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, in 2007 and became K&L Gates. After the merger, Bender moved from the firm’s Portland office to its Pittsburgh office before joining Bateman Seidel.

A K&L Gates spokesman declined to comment on Bender’s departure, the Intelligencer reports.

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