Littler Mendelson Expands In Central U.S. With New St. Louis Office

San Francisco, CA/ Jan. 24, 2008 -- Littler Mendelson, the nation's largest employment and labor law firm, announced today that several prominent St. Louis attorneys will lead Littler's further expansion into Missouri. The St. Louis addition is Littler's 44th nationwide office.

Shareholders Harry ("Hal") Wellford, Jr., formerly of Thompson Coburn; Charles ("Chad") Reis, IV, formerly of Brown & James; Stephen Smith, formerly of Thompson Coburn; and Kimberly Yates, also of Thompson Coburn, will lead Littler's St. Louis office. Coincidentally, both Wellford and Reis are leaving their former firms after 24 years of service. Also joining the St. Louis office are associates Amy Nixon, Frances Barbieri and Narcisa Przulj, all three formerly of Brown & James.

With an existing office in Kansas City, this addition will enhance Littler's capability to efficiently provide resources to clients within the central United States while reaping the benefits of the firm's collective knowledge from its nearly 700 attorneys nationwide. Opening the new St. Louis office is also further evidence of the significant growth the firm has achieved during the past five years and continued demand from the business community for Littler's specialized and strategic legal advice.

"Hal, Chad and their colleagues share our commitment to strong collaboration and impeccable client service," said Marko Mrkonich, president and managing partner of Littler Mendelson. "We are pleased they have formed our new office in St. Louis, thereby enhancing our ability to develop innovative solutions to employment law challenges facing companies with operations in the area."

Hal Wellford, the newly appointed office managing shareholder ("OMS") of Littler's St. Louis office, brings a wealth of knowledge and cutting-edge solutions to the firm. "I am eager to take on this new role as OMS and to represent Littler in St. Louis," said Wellford. "This is a great opportunity to meet and exceed the labor and employment needs of companies in St. Louis and throughout the Missouri and Southern Illinois markets."

Wellford's practice focuses on employment litigation and client counseling. He has represented the St. Louis Cardinals for many years in contract negotiations, salary arbitrations, and other matters. Wellford has repeatedly been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America and recognized by Super Lawyers for Missouri and Kansas. He has law licenses in Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee, and is admitted to practice in several other state and federal courts. Wellford received his Juris Doctorate from the University Of Tennessee School of Law in 1981 as a member of the Order of the Coif and his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Washington and Lee University in 1976. After law school, Wellford clerked for the Chief Judge H. Kenneth Wangelin of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Reis' practice focuses on employment litigation. He represents numerous national and local employers in the retail, restaurant, construction, and manufacturing industries. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, Reis was listed among the Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers in Employment Law. He is admitted to the Missouri, Illinois, Kansas state bars, the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri, the Central and Southern Districts of Illinois, District Court of Kansas, and also the 7th and 8th Circuit Courts of Appeal. Reis received his Juris Doctorate from St. Louis University in 1982 and his Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Boston College in 1982. After law school, Reis clerked for Judge William Crandall of the Missouri Court of Appeals in St. Louis. Reis also serves as pro bono counsel to Life Skills, a non-profit organization that serves individuals with mental disabilities.

Smith brings 29 years of experience in labor relations matters to the firm, including 13 years of service as an attorney and trial specialist with the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"). His practice focuses on representing management in union avoidance, collective bargaining, and unfair labor practice litigation. He has represented employers across a wide range of industries including health care, transportation and warehousing, construction, oil and gas, manufacturing, chemical processing, and news media. Smith was recognized among the "Top 100 Labor Attorneys in America" in union avoidance matters by the Labor Relations Institute and earned the General Counsel's Certificate of Commendation during his tenure at the NLRB. He regularly lectures at business seminars to share his expertise in labor and employment issues. Smith is admitted to the Missouri state bar, the Eastern District of Missouri, the Southern District of Illinois and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeal. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law in 1978 and his Bachelor of Arts., with departmental honors in Philosophy, from the University of Missouri – St. Louis in 1975.

Yates' practice focuses on labor and employment law, particularly litigation of non-compete, discrimination and wage and hour matters, and client counseling concerning risk management and compliance with state and federal employment laws. Her practice is focused in the St. Louis metropolitan area, including the courts in "metro east" Illinois, where she also resides. She is admitted to practice in Missouri, Illinois, the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri, and the Southern District of Illinois. Yates received her J.D. from University of Missouri – Columbia in 2000, where she was lead articles editor for the Journal of Dispute Resolution. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Religious Studies from University of Missouri – Columbia in 1992. Prior to beginning a career in law, Yates was an executive with the Procter & Gamble Distributing Company where she worked in sales management and human resources.

Nixon's practice focuses on employment law. She is admitted to practice in Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 as a member of the Order of the Coif and received numerous awards, including American Jurisprudence Awards for Bankruptcy and Federal Courts and the Comfort Scholarship. In addition, Nixon was note editor for the Oklahoma Law Review and has authored several articles. She received her Bachelors of Accountancy from the University of Oklahoma in 1997.

Barbieri's practice focuses on employment law. She is admitted to practice in Missouri. She received her Juris Doctorate from Washington University in 2007, where she was on the Executive Board of the Women's Law Caucus and also on the Public Service Advisory Board. Additionally, Barbieri received numerous awards including an award for oral argument and the Equal Justice Award. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri at Columbia in 2004. Barbieri is a member of the Missouri Asian American Bar Association.

Przulj's practice focuses on employment law. She is admitted to practice in Missouri. She received her Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2007 and received the Academic Excellence Award for Highest Grade in International Law. Przulj also earned the Employment Law Certificate. She received her Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, summa cum laude, from Saint Louis University in 2004.

About Littler Mendelson

With nearly 700 attorneys and 44 offices in major metropolitan areas nationwide, Littler Mendelson is the largest law firm in the United States devoted exclusively to representing management in employment, employee benefits and labor law matters. The firm's client base ranges from Fortune 500 companies to small-business owners. Established in 1942, the firm has litigated, mediated and negotiated some of the most influential cases and labor contracts in the nation's history. For more information, visit