MILWAUKEE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Well-known Milwaukee-based law firm Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan closed its 15 offices across the country on February 29, 2016. On March 1, former equity partners Emery Harlan and Kerrie Murphy opened for business as MWH Law Group LLP.
“Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan had a long run. This is a time of great tumult in the legal profession and we are seeing evidence of tremendous change in law firms throughout the Milwaukee market,” said Harlan. “Our former partners decided it would not make financial sense to continue operating the firm in its then current form, so we agreed to all pursue other opportunities.”
Despite news reports of more than 100 attorneys left jobless, Harlan said most, if not all attorneys in the former firm were gainfully employed shortly after the transition.
Harlan and Murphy were able to pursue their path with MWH Law Group thanks to a loyal existing client base, immense support from friends throughout the communities in which they served, and as many attorneys from Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan as they could bring on — which currently totals 18 of the 20 attorneys on staff.
“We worked extensively with Emery Harlan and Peggy Miller on significant employment and IP transactional matters during their time at Gonzalez, Saggio & Harlan, LLP,” said Damien Atkins, General Counsel & Secretary, Panasonic Corporation of North America. “We were very interested in following them to their new firm and are pleased to continue working with Emery, Peggy and others at MWH Law Group on important matters for the success of our business, including privacy and open source software issues.”
MWH Law Group now operates from a Milwaukee base at 735 N. Water St., with additional offices in Chicago, Indianapolis, and West Des Moines, Iowa. Practice areas are concentrated in intellectual property, public finance, litigation, and employment law, in the financial services, technology, retail, food and beverage, and manufacturing industries.
The firm continues the Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan legacy of a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.
According to the National Association for Law Placement, minorities made up almost 27 percent of law school graduates in the class of 2014, yet the representation of minorities among lawyers as a whole at large law firms in 2015 was only 13.97 percent. Representation of African-Americans at the associate level has declined every year since 2010, and Hispanic representation has increased only one-half of one percent since 2009.
“We are a minority-owned firm with a mission to ensure diverse attorneys have the opportunity to perform work for blue chip and Fortune 500 corporate clients,” said Murphy, who serves as managing partner. “We are seeking to transform the legal profession by demonstrating that it is possible to deliver the highest quality legal services in a firm environment that is genuinely diverse and inclusive at all levels.”
To achieve this, MWH Law Group is actively involved in the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), of which Harlan is co-founder and Chairman Emeritus. MWH Law Group also is certified by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Additionally, Harlan serves as an advisor to the Minority In-House Counsel Association (MIHCA), an organization focused on developing and promoting minority in-house lawyers.
About MWH Law Group LLP
MWH Law Group LLP is a minority-owned law firm delivering the highest quality legal advice and service. MWH harnesses the power of its attorneys’ diverse backgrounds to provide a broader and more complete perspective for clients. The firm’s legal expertise includes labor and employment, litigation, corporate, transactional, real estate, technology, intellectual property, and public finance. MWH provides legal services across a wide range of industries with a strategic focus on financial services, technology, retail, food and beverage, and manufacturing. For more information, visit www.mwhlawgroup.com