Epstein Becker Green has brought aboard a 12-partner team focused on health care and labor and employment disputes from the midsize firm Bricker & Eckler, making for a new office in Columbus, Ohio.
The New York and Washington, D.C.-founded Epstein Becker Green, which already boasts a focus in health care and life sciences, as well as labor and employment, cited the region’s “strong and diversified economy” and called Ohio the “fastest growing” market in the Midwest.
But Steven Di Fiore, chief operating officer for the firm, said Epstein Becker Green usually looks at the quality of attorneys in those core practices first, then examines whether the market makes sense within its footprint, before making such moves.
“It’s really the group that drove us more, but the bonus was it’s in Columbus, which is a really fast-growing market in the Midwest, so it’s good to be in that market,” he said. “There are great health care clients here, and our firm already had clients here we were servicing, so now we have people on the ground to help.”
The move comes as demand and innovation in health care have heightened during the pandemic; a scorching transactional market has ramped up health-related mergers and acquisitions, and an aging population with more acute care and behavioral health needs have all pushed health care law to new heights.
Di Fiore added that the pandemic has also resulted in plenty of activity for the firm’s labor and employment practice, with questions about how to work remote, stay remote, and now, when employers should bring their employers back to the office—and to what extent.
He said Epstein Becker Green itself is still mostly remote, and that the offices haven’t closed during the pandemic, but the firm is targeting Oct. 6 for a more full return-to-work, albeit “with the flexibility our attorneys have always had to work remotely to whatever extent it makes sense for their situation.”
“And we’ll have the same policy here in Columbus,” he added.
Among the lawyers joining Epstein Becker Green are Bricker’s former health care group leader, Jennifer Nelson Carney, and employment and labor group leader James Petrie, along with Stephen Kleinman, a partner focused on quality improvement issues in hospitals.
Mark E. Lutes, chair of Epstein Becker Green’s board of directors, said in a statement that the firm is “thrilled to add depth and breadth in our three areas of focus with a group held in such high regard in the market.”