Hiring slowly resumes at largest area law firms

Though they added lawyers to their staffs, the rankings at the very top of the Business Report’s list of the largest area law firms remained unchanged this year, with Otis, Coan and Peters and Fischer, Brown Bartlett and Gunn holding onto their respective first and second place spots.

On the other hand, Cochran, Freund and Young gained two new attorneys, moving it up the list from No. 6 to No. 3.

The firm formerly known as Allen, Vahrenwald and Johnson held its place at No. 5 with seven attorneys on staff, but has changed its name to Vahrenwald, Johnson and McMahill.

Bill Allen, after whom the firm was formerly named, passed away in 1990, but the firm kept his name out of respect. Only this year did the partners decide to change the firm name and add Brian McMahill to the list, a veteran of the firm.

While law firms in Denver and other large cities underwent a year of acquisitions and mergers, Northern Colorado law firms remained mostly independent, according to local counselors.

Law firms are also hiring again, with the top five firms employing an additional 10 people combined from April 2011 to today. Three of the top five expect to hire more people in the coming year.

Like other businesses in Northern Colorado, the firms say they are poised for a slow, steady economic comeback. And as the economy recovers, more deals will be made and more businesses will expand, creating more need for legal services.

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Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, marmbrister@ncbr.com or twitter.com/MArmbristerNCBR

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