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7 former Buckingham attorneys join new Lewis Brisbois Akron office

Seven former Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs attorneys have joined the national law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, which opened an Akron office, allowing them to continue to serve their existing clients. Pictured here front row from left are partners Gregory Amend and John Hill and associate Anna Luczkow. In the back row from left are Akron managing partner David Kern, associate Casey Davis, paralegal Kim Dornack, associate Meleah Skillern and partner Andrew Pullekins. (Photo courtesy of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith).

Legal News Reporter

Published: March 20, 2020

Seven former Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs attorneys have joined the national law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, which opened an Akron office, allowing them to continue to serve their existing clients.
Former Buckingham Shareholder and Litigation Practice Group Chair John Hill and former Shareholders Gregory Amend and David Kern, who previously served as chair of the Business Practice Group and Partner-in-Charge of Buckingham’s Akron office left the firm in mid-January.
Shortly after they were joined by litigation partner Andrew Pullekins, litigation associate Meleah Skillern, corporate associates Casey Davis and Anna Luczkow and paralegal Kim Dornack.
“Greg, David and I had been looking for a larger platform for some time to help our clients that have national needs,” said Hill. “We had several options. We chose Lewis Brisbois because not only did we like the way they practice and their culture but the firm also recognized the importance of the Akron market and was willing to start an office here. After we left, several others at Buckingham chose to follow.”
Litigation attorneys Skillern and Pullekins echoed Hill’s sentiments.
“I’ve developed great working relationships with the people in this group over the last few years,” said Skillern. “As a team, we value collaboration, inclusive culture and high-quality client service, which align with the values of Lewis Brisbois. It’s a great match.”
“Our team has always worked together to provide exceptional legal services for our clients,” said Pullekins, a litigation partner at Lewis Brisbois. “As a part of Lewis Brisbois, we have access to professional resources across the nation. It’s very exciting.”
The attorneys initially worked out of Lewis Brisbois’ Cleveland office, while the lease arrangements were being made in Akron.
The office officially opened at 1 GOJO Plaza in downtown Akron in late February, marking the Los Angeles-based firm’s 53rd location across the United States.
In an email R. Gaylord Smith, vice chairman of Lewis Brisbois stated, “Our interest in Akron was sparked by the potential availability of these outstanding corporate and litigation attorneys. 
“A strong presence in Akron complements our continued growth throughout the Midwest and will provide David, John, Greg and their crew access to resources throughout the country. They are not just great lawyers, but also wonderful people and we are delighted they decided to join our firm.” 
Amend and Kern, who serves as managing partner of the new Akron office, said their clients are already reaping the benefits of Lewis Brisbois’ national platform.
“On the corporate side I am now able to bring in other practitioners to assist clients on state-specific or specialized matters by placing a call to attorneys located in our other offices,” said Kern, who focuses on corporate, mergers and acquisitions and tax matters.
“The diversity of the practice at the firm and the depth of the skill sets have been extremely helpful,” said Amend, who focuses on complex commercial litigation. “I have already had the chance to expand some of my existing client relationships because I have the ability to represent clients on a nationwide basis.
“Historically when one of my Ohio clients had a need outside the area I would refer them to another firm,” Amend said. “Now I am able to remain directly involved with their cases.”
Corporate associates Davis and Luczkow also expressed enthusiasm about being part of a firm with such a large national presence.
“I was drawn to the opportunity to play an integral role both in growing and developing the corporate practice group at a national firm and in establishing a new office with a team of such talented and hard-working individuals,” said Luczkow.
“I am excited not only about the national platform in which to further service our clients, but also the ability to work with a great group of individuals on sophisticated corporate and M&A matters,” said Davis.
Amend, Hill and Kern all worked at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs for many years.
Kern started at Buckingham in 1996. Born and raised in Akron, he obtained his juris doctorate from Capital University Law School in Columbus. He also has an LL.M. in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C.
He began his career at Meyer Darragh Buckler Bebenek & Eck in Pennsylvania, moving back to Akron in 1994, when he joined Amer Cunningham Co. as an associate.
Kern served as chair of the Business Practice Group for many years and then as Partner-in-Charge of Buckingham’s Akron office for seven years, experience he said he is now utilizing as managing partner of Lewis Brisbois’ Akron office.
“I am excited to have such a great group of attorneys working on our team applying their talents to address our clients’ legal needs,” Kern said. “Couple that with a national platform and the results should be powerful and extraordinary.”
Hill joined Buckingham in 2012 and worked out of the Akron office.
A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, he received his juris doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1987.
Hill began his career as an associate in the Cleveland office of the litigation firm Gallagher Sharp. He then spent 13 years as a shareholder at Scanlon & Gearinger Co., a large plaintiff contingent fee law firm, before starting his own firm, Hill Hardman, in 2006.
During his time at Buckingham, Hill served as chair of the Litigation Practice Group and was a member of the Business Practice Group.
“When I started practicing, I did a lot of insurance defense, personal injury and product liability,” said Hill. “Over the last 20 years or so my practice has morphed into more of a business and commercial litigation practice.”
Hill has accumulated extensive jury trial experience and sometimes provides “last-minute” trial services to business clients. As a partner at Lewis Brisbois, he said he will continue to develop his trial practice, hoping “to reach across the firm’s many offices and clients throughout the country.”
Amend grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio and graduated from Syracuse University College of Law in New York.
Prior to joining Buckingham as a partner in 2013, he spent seven years at Kohrman Jackson & Krantz in Cleveland.
He will split his time between the Akron and Cleveland offices of Lewis Brisbois.
Amend, who also has substantive jury trial experience, serves as outside counsel and a trusted business advisor to many of his clients.
At Lewis Brisbois, Amend said he plans continue to service and develop his client relationships and “take full advantage of the resources and opportunities offered by a national platform.”
While the Akron office now has seven attorneys and one paralegal, Kern said growth is possible down the road.
“We will be determining if additional skill sets are needed,” said Kern. “Right now we have the ability to offer our clients a national platform with the bench strength of 1500 lawyers.”