We are pleased to announce seven attorneys have been elected to the partnership, continuing a trend of internal professional advancement during a period of sustained growth for the firm’s footprint and capabilities. The new partners include Andy Anderson (Phoenix), Brian Bear (Kansas City, Missouri), Andrea Chase (Kansas City, Missouri), Elizabeth O’Brien Felker (St. Louis), Arthur Gregg (St. Louis), Ravi Sundara (St. Louis), and James Wooll (Denver).
The elections were effective January 1, 2022.
“Spencer Fane remains fiercely committed to providing all attorneys with paths to leadership within the firm,” Spencer Fane Chair Patrick J. Whalen said. “Our new partners have demonstrated a longstanding dedication to their clients’ success as well as the firm’s culture. I am grateful to be able to welcome them into the partnership, and look forward to witnessing their continued excellence in the practice of law.
Focused on both internal and strategic external growth, Spencer Fane opened three new offices during the past year in Nashville and Hendersonville, Tennessee, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while significantly growing in other markets, including Denver, St. Louis, and Austin.
“Spencer Fane has grown a lot since I first started working here, but one thing that has not changed is its commitment to its core values,” Andrea Chase said. “This commitment sets Spencer Fane apart from other law firms.”
“Spencer Fane understands that investing in its attorneys, especially its young attorneys, is crucial for the services we ultimately provide to our clients,” Arthur Gregg added. “Spencer Fane encourages attorneys to not only hone their legal expertise but also to deepen their engagement with their local communities and extend their network with firm attorneys across the country. Each of these things is an asset for both the attorney and, ultimately, any client Spencer Fane represents.”
Significantly, Spencer Fane pursues a growth model centered on providing resources in the markets where clients do business.
“The collaborative spirit and commitment to client service at Spencer Fane are the hallmarks of a firm that understands the markets in which it operates,” Jim Wooll said. “As a firm that genuinely understands the value of its talent and that the service to clients is the entire reason that talent chooses to work together, Spencer Fane provides an environment where I want to continue to grow my practice and career. Along the way, I have found nothing but colleagues willing to help me serve my clients and to share the benefits of their collective knowledge and experiences.”
In addition to expanding the firm’s footprint, the measured growth creates additional opportunities for attorneys across the country to work together and solve clients’ most pressing and complex legal issues that help them meet their goals and business objectives.
“We provide creative solutions for clients,” Brian Bear said. “Whether that means formal litigation, looking at policy reform, or finding some other way to achieve clients’ objectives, we present multiple options and approaches to achieving outcomes. I have been told multiple times by our clients that our firm always presents more options and more creative ways of tackling their problems in ways that were not even on the radar of our competitors.”
Added Ravi Sundara: “For me, the significant collaborative structure and culture at Spencer Fane has been beyond expectations, and it has greatly helped to expand my nonprofit organizations practice. Also, and just as important, the firm’s primary emphasis on client service, rather than fixating on metrics such as billable hours, margin, etc., aligned with my values perfectly, and I knew that this was where I wanted to complete my career.”
This approach allows Spencer Fane to continually find meaningful ways to align resources with emerging areas where novel legal needs continue to arise.
“Spencer Fane serves at the forefront in industries such as fintech, cybersecurity, and health care, which are innovating exponentially,” Andy Anderson said. “As counsel, we have daily opportunities to learn and grow alongside our clients.”
Significantly, Spencer Fane continues to thrive through a forward-thinking business model that clearly resonates with the attorneys and professionals who have chosen to establish their legal careers with the firm.
“For me, becoming a partner is significantly more meaningful because of the way I feel about my Spencer Fane colleagues and clients,” Liz Felker said. “The immense respect I have for the attorneys I work with day in and day out, along with the ways in which firm leadership has made clear that they genuinely care about my professional and personal growth, makes my nomination to join their partnership exponentially more rewarding — and humbling — than a simple change in title might suggest. Along with the many positives in the profession, being an attorney in private practice can at times be challenging on a lot of different levels, irrespective of where you practice.
“However, the consistent tendency of my colleagues at Spencer Fane to put the needs and preferences of clients and fellow attorneys before their own regularly reminds me how rewarding this career really can be when you’re in the right place and working with people who prioritize collaboration, mutual support, and respect for others in doing the job and doing it well.”
ABOUT THE ATTORNEYS
Andy Anderson (Phoenix) — Andy helps clients in corporate transactions such as debt and equity financings and mergers and acquisitions from negotiation to closing, allowing them to execute with purpose and speed. He also regularly advises clients in joint ventures on issues pertaining to limited liability company and partnership law, having served on the subcommittee of the State Bar of Arizona that drafted the Arizona Limited Liability Company Act.
Brian Bear (Kansas City) — Brian focuses his practice as a litigator and trial attorney on representing both private and public entities in complex litigation, public finance, and intellectual property, leaning on years of robust experience to aggressively advocate for his clients and help them achieve their business objectives. He began his career with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, where he oversaw significant consumer protection matters and complex litigation on behalf of the office, including the National Mortgage Settlement. He has also served as general counsel for the Missouri Department of Economic Development and frequently uses his hands-on experience with the government to represent public and private entities that require sensible solutions to federal, state, and local government matters.
Andrea Chase (Kansas City) — Andrea represents secured and unsecured creditors and trustees in bankruptcy and nonbankruptcy insolvency proceedings such as receiverships and foreclosure proceedings, out-of-court workouts and restructurings, and other related insolvency matters. While at the University of Iowa College of Law, she externed for Chief Judge Thad Collins of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa. She currently serves on the advisory board for the Midwestern Bankruptcy Institute, an annual program jointly sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and also serves on the board of the Kansas City Bankruptcy Bar Association.
Elizabeth O’Brien Felker (St. Louis) — Liz focuses her practice on business transactions, employee benefits, and deferred and executive compensation, drawing on her experience in mergers and acquisitions, complex commercial relationships, corporate formations or reorganizations, and public and private securities offerings to provide clients with effective, pragmatic solutions. She works with clients across a wide variety of industries from the entity formation stage through the life cycle of the business enterprise and provides counsel on strategic and regulatory issues, business and succession planning, and corporate governance matters, regularly advising on and negotiating agreements related to clients’ ongoing business operations and arrangements with key management personnel.
Arthur Gregg (St. Louis) — Arthur helps clients navigate the complexity and uncertainty of litigation to make sure they remain fully informed and best-positioned to obtain a favorable outcome. Whether he is in front of a judge, jury or arbitration panel, Arthur has experience delivering victories for his clients and successfully defending those victories on appeal. Recognizing that sometimes the most beneficial outcomes occur before the onset of litigation, Arthur also has experience working with clients to recognize, preempt, and resolve issues that can threaten their success and even their very existence.
Ravi Sundara (St. Louis) — Ravi assists mainly tax-exempt organizations with corporate, tax, regulatory compliance, deferred and direct charitable giving, and employee benefits legal matters. This includes advising clients on corporate formations, reorganizations, mergers, and asset sales and acquisitions and structuring transactions that allow them to achieve their goals within legal parameters. His specific experience includes the formation of tax-exempt, nonprofit charitable and religious corporations, and advising as to tax-exempt status, unrelated business income tax, securities, charitable solicitation, and other related regulatory matters. He also assists officers and boards with corporate governance issues.
James Wooll (Denver) — Jim brings extensive experience in trials with juries and with appellate courts, as well as mediation and arbitration to help clients head off potential lawsuits when possible and aggressively litigating them when they cannot. In addition to commercial litigation, he adeptly advises clients on issues involving construction law, liquor licensing and brewery law, and professional malpractice matters. A former law clerk for Chief Judge Claus J. Hume of the Colorado Court of Appeals, Jim possesses a deep understanding of jury trials in both state and federal courts.