Dinsmore Marks 20 Years, Continued Growth in West Virginia
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP recently marked 20 years since its first West Virginia office was established in Charleston.
Since its inception, the firm’s West Virginia presence has grown from eight attorneys and nine staff in one office that first year to 93 by 2012, and 133 total in 2022.
Charleston Office Managing Partner Ashley Pack credits attorney Henry Jernigan with singlehandedly establishing the Charleston office.
“It was him and one other person,” Pack said of her predecessor, who retired from Dinsmore in 2019. “He was such a force.”
Reaching the 20-year mark underlines the firm’s staying power in the Mountain State.
“We have some older firms that have been here for 200 years,” Pack said. “In 2002, Dinsmore was seen as the new kids on the block. We’ve been in Charleston for 20 years. That’s a significant milestone.”
In 2002, the national firm employed just one-third of the more than 725 attorneys on its roster today. In the last 20 years, besides adding four more West Virginia offices in Morgantown and Wheeling (2007), Lewisburg (2011), and Huntington (2015), Dinsmore added more than a dozen other offices coast to coast.
Since its formation, the Charleston office has more than doubled in headcount, with its attorneys increasing from eight in 2003 to 21 in 2022, and staff increasing from nine to 20 in that same time.
To help continue the firm’s growth trajectory, Dinsmore last year welcomed former federal prosecutor Mike Stuart to the Charleston office as a partner practicing in the firm’s national corporate department. Prior to his public service, he spent more than a decade working on several multi-billion dollar mergers and acquisitions and securities transactions, which led to his former firm’s growth across multiple states.
Most attorneys who join Dinsmore remain for the long haul, including Pack, who celebrated 20 years with the firm in 2021.
“One of the reasons I’ve stayed at a law firm for 20 years is how good it’s been to work here,” Pack said. “I’ve had great mentors who were really invested in my career.”
Similar to the humble beginnings of the Charleston office, Dinsmore’s Wheeling office began 15 years ago in large part due to Jernigan’s tenacity, according to Office Managing Partner Denise Pentino. At Jernigan’s urging, Pentino “picked up my entire office” and started Dinsmore’s Wheeling office from the third floor of her home with two other attorneys.
“It was remote before remote work was a common theme,” Pentino said. “We were operating off of cell phones. The receptionist came to my home to deliver mail and take our mail to the post office.”
Today, the Wheeling office employs eight attorneys and seven staff members, while Morgantown, which also celebrates 15 years in 2022, employs 15 attorneys and seven staff.
Morgantown Office Managing Partner Josh Rogers began as a second-year associate in January 2007, was promoted to partner in 2013, and office managing partner in 2017.
“It’s been a long ride, but a great firm to do it with,” Rogers said. “Dinsmore provides its attorneys with great opportunities to grow a practice. That’s exactly what I was provided here.”
Attorneys serve as trusted advisors to some of the world’s leading businesses. In West Virginia, attorneys provide a wide array of legal services in myriad practice areas, including corporate and transactional matters, intellectual property, health care, insurance, labor and employment, wealth and estate planning, education, finance, creditor/debtor rights matters, natural resources law, mine and workplace safety, banking and creditor rights, commercial and insurance litigation, municipal law, product liability matters, toxic tort matters, and mineral title litigation, among others.
With an eye on expanding upon practice areas, the firm, several months ago, welcomed partner Michelle Salter, who practices health care immigration law at the Morgantown office.
“In West Virginia, next to no one is doing this work for health care providers,” Salter said. “I am excited to provide this much-needed service.”
Looking ahead, Rogers said he envisions strategic growth of certain practice areas, such as commercial real estate, as well as mergers and acquisitions, in line with the expansion of the economy in Morgantown.
“I would love to add some local attorneys who can handle all those areas,” Rogers said. “We had the opportunity to practice in a smaller market, yet have big firm resources. I’m really proud of how we’ve been able to establish ourselves.”