Am Law 50 firm Holland & Knight expanded its health care practice to Texas by adding three litigation partners, in what appears to be a hot industry focus of the moment for firms with a presence in the state.
The latest additions to Holland & Knight’s practice are former McDermott Will & Emery partner Eliot “Eli” Burriss in Dallas, and former Clark Hill Strasburger partner Samuel Louis and senior counsel Justo Mendez in Houston.
The move follows Winstead’s hiring earlier this month of a group of four health care lawyers in Austin who also came from Clark Hill Strasburger.
Jeffrey Mittleman, a co-leader of Holland & Knight’s health care and life sciences industry group, said in a press release that the firm has wanted to expand into the Texas health care market in a “meaningful way” for a while, since clients are making investments there.
“It makes sense to start with litigation, one of the strengths of our firm,” Mittleman wrote.
Louis said Holland & Knight’s deep benches in health care and white-collar defense mesh well with what he does, which includes counseling on health care regulatory issues, white-collar criminal defense, corporate internal investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters and other federal compliance issues.
Mendez, who has worked on and off with Louis since 2008, also advises health care providers on regulatory and white-collar matters, as well as enforcement and transactions.
Both Louis and Mendez are former assistant U.S. attorneys in the Southern District of Texas and Mendez is a former agent for the Office of the Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Louis notes that Holland & Knight has a number of former federal prosecutors among its lawyers.
“Our practice is to provide health care regulatory advice, but also to represent them when there are enforcement actions that occur,” Louis said.
In Dallas, Burriss also said Holland & Knight’s health care practice fits well with his commercial litigation expertise. His practice includes fiduciary, health plan and health care litigation for large health payers, insurance companies, and large health care organizations, including hospital systems and physician groups.
While the lawyers declined to identify their clients, online federal court records show that Louis recently represented Innovative Orthopedic Technologies and DeHealth, and indicate that Burriss’ clients include Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. and Lone Star Industries.
When asked to comment on the departures, a representative for Clark Hill said in a statement that the firm has 70 lawyers across the country doing work for clients in the health care and life sciences industries, and the firm’s practice is strong.
“Movement among law firms today is routine; attorneys move for personal and professional reasons. We respect that and wish them well,” the statement said.
A representative for McDermott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Holland & Knight announced the hires on Thursday, but Louis and Mendez joined earlier this month, and Burriss in late January.