Husch Blackwell announced today that Greg Smith and Paul Eberle have been elected to the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive, respectively, for three-year terms. Eberle’s term as Chief Executive will commence February 1, 2018; Smith will assume the chairmanship of the firm on April 1, 2018, when current Chairman Maurice Watson steps down from that role.
Watson, who was first elected Chairman in 2012, has long been a trusted advisor to public and private educational institutions and their boards on sensitive regulatory, litigation and governance issues. Watson has served throughout his career on numerous boards, including boards of national associations, and is recognized as one of the most influential black lawyers in America and most influential civic leaders in Kansas City. He speaks and writes frequently on issues impacting the business of law, including technology, diversity, business development and governance.
“It has been a tremendous pleasure and privilege to lead the firm through a historic transformation of our business model since 2012,” said Watson. “I look forward to continuing my relationship with the firm as I transition to an exciting new chapter in my career.”
Watson will work closely with Smith and Eberle over the course of the next eight months to effect a seamless transition in leadership.
Eberle joined Husch Blackwell in the firm’s 2016 business combination with Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, where he served as Chief Executive since 2009. Eberle has occupied the position of Deputy CEO at Husch Blackwell and shared responsibility for the overall vision, leadership and direction of the firm. Prior to assuming executive positions within the legal industry, Eberle enjoyed a varied and successful career in business. He was the founder and president of Capital Data Inc., a technology, services and leasing company; was a founding shareholder of LaserNet Inc., a print, mail and electronic document delivery company; and was an active angel and real estate investor.
“The partners of Husch Blackwell have demonstrated time and again a willingness to adapt in order to provide clients with greater value and service,” said Eberle. “Having been on the client side for many years, I know how important it is to maintain focus on clients and on what drives their success. I look forward to continuing our evolution as a client-centered law firm, committed to a deep understanding of the industries in which our clients operate.”
Since 2012, Smith has served as Husch Blackwell’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner, while maintaining an active real estate and development legal practice. Smith began his career with the firm in 1981. He has been recognized for many years as one of the leading real estate lawyers in Missouri and nationally, earning distinctions from Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America, among other top legal directories.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead Husch Blackwell,” Smith said. “This orderly and long-planned transition provides a great deal of continuity for our partners and clients. Paul is a great choice as my successor and a clear example of our commitment to addressing our clients’ needs in the most efficient and innovative manner. I look forward to working with him and our Partners as we continue to collaborate with our clients.”