Dykema launches in Milwaukee with Husch Blackwell team, including fired lawyer

Downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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  • Dykema added a seven lawyer capital markets team from Husch Blackwell to launch a Milwaukee office
  • One of them was fired last year after being placed on leave amid tax and other problems, Husch said

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(Reuters) – Detroit-founded law firm Dykema Gossett is opening a new office in Milwaukee with a team of attorneys from Husch Blackwell, including a practice leader at the firm who was fired in August.

Eric Lenzen, who has joined Dykema as senior counsel, was placed on leave in May 2021 “to address his financial, tax and personal problems,” Catherine Hanaway, the chair of Husch Blackwell, said in a statement.

“We did not see the expected level of engagement or progress during the [leave of absence] which left us with the difficult decision to separate Eric from the firm in August,” Hanaway said.

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Lenzen, a former leader of Husch Blackwell’s financial services and capital markets industry group, is one of seven attorneys who launched Dykema’s new Milwaukee office, the firm said in a press release Monday.

Lenzen did not respond to a request for comment. Kate Bechen, a corporate dealmaker who left Husch to lead Dykema’s new office, and Leonard Wolfe, Dykema’s chair and CEO, also did not respond to requests for comment on the hires. Spokespersons for the firm also did not respond.

Husch Blackwell did not provide specifics on its reasons for parting ways with Lenzen. Wisconsin state court records show the state Department of Revenue issued two delinquent tax warrants against Lenzen and his wife for more than $110,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties in 2020 and 2021. A spokesperson for the department did not respond to a request for comment.

Commerce State Bank, a Wisconsin-based bank, obtained a default $1.1 million judgment against Lenzen and his wife in September. Available court records didn’t show what led to the judgment and the bank did not respond to a request for comment.

Dykema in a press release said the hires strengthen its presence in the Midwest, where the firm already has offices in Detroit, Chicago and the Michigan cities of Ann Arbor, Bloomfield Hills and Lansing.

Milwaukee is home to seven Fortune 1000 companies, including financial services firm The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co and industrial automation equipment maker Rockwell Automation Inc, which purchased manufacturing software maker Plex Systems Inc in a $2.2 billion cash deal last year.

Steven Laabs, Andrew Frost and Jessica Zeratsky have also joined Dykema as members, and Julie D’Angelo and Robin Lehninger and Lenzen joined the firm as senior counsel.

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