Jim Polsinelli, whose name has become synonymous with legal services in Kansas City, announced today that he would retire in January after more than 46 years with the firm he founded in 1972.
Armed with a $10,000 line of credit–secured with his household goods–he joined with two other lawyers in a 1,000-square-foot office to establish the first law firm on the Country Club Plaza. He was 28 years old. Today, Polsinelli PC is an AmLaw 100 firm with offices nationwide and more than 800 attorneys supporting companies in most every business sector.
He built the firm with a focus on small businesses in mid-markets across manufacturing, retail food operation, distribution companies, industrial hardware operations, mortgage services, real estate investments and more, and in recent years, Polsinelli has been known as the nation’s fastest-growing firm in the specialization of health-care law.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Jim’s entrepreneurial spirit and uncanny ability to anticipate change,” longtime Chairman/ CEO Russ Welsh said in a news release issued this morning. “He has been a mentor to me, and so many others. Jim’s trademark integrity, core values, judgement and passion for clients are values our firm strives to model to this day.”
“It has been such a kick. Even in my wildest dreams back then, I didn’t anticipate the success of our firm today,” Polsinelli said. “I’m tremendously grateful to our firm’s leaders–past and present–who have preserved the values we established when founding this business nearly five decades ago. I’m equally grateful to the extraordinary clients I have worked with over the years, many of whom became friends that I learned more from them than they did from me. Most importantly, I could not have gone on this journey without the tremendous support of my family.”
Polsinelli, who was named one of Ingram’s Legends of Business in 2014, has also been a civic pillar, especially with his efforts to support education at all levels. His board-service history includes the University of Missouri-Kansas City and of its Bloch School of Entrepreneurship, St. Teresa’s Academy, and Rockhurst High School. In addition, he sat on the boards of the Jackson County Land Trust Commission, the UMKC Law Foundation and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, among others. He’s currently chairman of both the UMKC Board of Trustees and the UMKC Law School and Entrepreneurship Task Force.
“The basic stuff that I thought in 1972 is what I still think today,” Polsinelli said. “When we started the firm, I was all focused on the people we hired and brought into the firm. That was my Job One. I didn’t worry too much about the clients or expenses, but I felt if we got the right people, the rest would take care of itself. And it sure has.”