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Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. names new CEO in management transition


From Illinois Business Journal news services

Law firm Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. has appointed Timothy R. Thornton as the firm’s first chief executive officer.

Thornton’s new role, which took effect Feb. 1, is one of several changes in 2016 marking a shift in management structure at the 120-year-old St. Louis-based firm. As CEO, Thornton will manage the daily affairs of the firm’s three locations, in downtown St. Louis, Chicago and Belleville.

thornton timThornton (left) has been a member of Greensfelder since 1981 and is an officer in the Construction Industry group. A graduate of Washington University School of Law, he previously served as a member of Greensfelder’s board of directors and as president of the firm. He will bring that experience with all facets of the firm’s business to his role as CEO, positioning the firm for continued long-term success in today’s competitive and complex law firm environment.

Previously, the firm’s leadership structure was headed by an officer of the firm who served as president while maintaining a full-time law practice. Since 2012, Vincent J. Garozzo has filled that role, and he will now continue his role as an officer of the firm and highly regarded corporate transactions attorney while transitioning out of his role as president and board member. Thornton, meanwhile, will continue some client representation, but his primary responsibility will be focused on strategic, financial, business development and operations issues.

The firm’s board of directors also recently appointed Heather Henry as chief operating officer. Henry, who had previously served as the firm’s chief financial officer since 2013, leads the firm’s administrative and business operations and works closely with the CEO, board and practice group leaders on strategic planning and firm policy issues.

Thornton said he believes the firm’s new path forward is an exciting development that will serve to strengthen not only the firm’s management but its service to clients.

“Now is the opportune time to implement these changes,” Thornton said. “Greensfelder has experienced great success under Vince’s leadership. We look forward to building upon that success with a new approach that will permit the firm to be more proactive in best serving our clients and making sure our lawyers have the support and resources that enable their practices to thrive.”

Board membership changes

The shift to a CEO-led business structure accompanies additional changes in leadership, with two additional attorneys exiting their roles on the board and three joining the board for the first time. In addition to Garozzo, Richard Greenberg and William G. Jochens will complete their terms on the board as of Jan. 31. They will each continue their legal practices as officers of the firm.

“Vince, Richard and Bill have been exemplars of dedicated and excellent service to the firm and the clients we serve,” Thornton said. “We expect their contributions to the firm and our clients to continue for many years to come.”

Three new members join the board of Directors effective Feb. 1: Jennifer A. Davis, Phillip R. Stanton and Jay A. Nathanson. Board members, elected by the firm’s shareholders, each maintain their regular law practices in conjunction with their firm governance roles.

Davis is an officer in the Trusts & Estates group. A fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, she works with clients ranging from business owners and multi-generational families to some of the region’s largest financial institutions. She is a graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law.

Nathanson is an officer in the Business Services group with extensive experience handling tax advice and controversy, along with other corporate counseling. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the LL.M. program at Washington University School of Law and is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law.

Stanton is an officer in the Business Services group, with a practice concentrating on corporate finance and securities regulation, mergers and acquisitions and executive compensation. He frequently serves clients in banking and financial services, health care, software and manufacturing. He is a graduate of Washington University School of Law.

“As first-time board members, Jennifer, Phil and Jay will bring fresh perspectives as we collaborate in confronting the ever-evolving challenges all law firms face,“ Thornton said.

Greensfelder offers comprehensive legal solutions for clients locally, nationally and internationally. Areas of practice include business services; communications and media; construction; creditors’ rights and bankruptcy; educational, religious and tax-exempt organizations; employee benefits; employment and labor; energy; franchising and distribution; health care; intellectual property; litigation; real estate; securities and financial services; and trusts and estates.

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