California law firm Sedgwick is moving its service center to downtown Kansas City

02/07/2014 6:00 AM

02/06/2014 7:48 PM

Kansas City has landed a back-office operation for a major San Francisco law firm, an achievement that’s particularly satisfying to local development officials because of the national competition for its 100 well-paid jobs.

The firm, Sedgwick LLP, employs 370 attorneys in offices around the country and in London and Bermuda. It plans to move its shared service center from downtown San Francisco to downtown Kansas City. The move will occur in June, and the facility is expected to be operating by late September.

Local officials say Kansas City, Indianapolis and the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area were finalists for the operation. Indianapolis and Raleigh-Durham, home of the Research Triangle, are considered the tops in the nation in pursuing economic development.

“This is a terrific victory for Kansas City and Kansas City, Mo.,” said Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council.

“One of the most compelling reasons Kansas City was selected was … our ability to be a source for very high-quality employees and for Kansas City to be a powerful talent magnet for new recruits to the company.”

Michael F. Healy, a partner at Sedgwick and member of its executive committee, was struck by the hometown pride of the people he met here, including real estate brokers who were competing against one another for the firm’s business.

“We gave a lot of thought to it and investigated lots of cities, including remaining in the San Francisco Bay area,” he said. “We were very impressed with the people we met in the Kansas City area. It was the most attractive city for us.”

The firm is close to completing a lease on its new downtown space, but Healy declined to identify where.

The central location of Kansas City to the firm’s offices across the country also was a plus. The shared service center will include the firm’s finance department, information technology, litigation support, human resources, marketing and research.

Healy declined to discuss salary ranges but described the jobs as “well compensated.” Some employees in the San Francisco office may choose to move, but he expects the majority of the staff will be new hires.

Sedgwick was founded in San Francisco in 1933. The firm describes itself as an international litigation and business law firm that provides counseling, risk management, litigation management, trial, appellate and transactional legal services to corporate clients.

Metropolitan Community College is working with Sedgwick to help recruit employees. People interested in applying should go to

sedgwicklaw.mcckc.edu

.

Pete Fullerton, president and CEO of the Kansas City Economic Development Corp., said Sedgwick preferred downtown because it would be an asset to recruiting talent. Fullerton said no local incentives were offered to bring the law firm operation here. Missouri is providing job training funds.

Gov. Jay Nixon, in a statement, said the firm would be investing $4.6 million in its Kansas City operation.

“Businesses continue to locate to Missouri because of our talented workforce and stable business climate,” the governor said.

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