Latest news

Patrick McInerney, prominent Kansas City attorney, moves his practice to Spencer Fane

Patrick McInerney, a well-known white-collar defense and government-compliance attorney in Kansas City, has left Dentons and started with Spencer Fane.

Monday was McInerney’s first day at the Kansas City law firm.

McInerney about three years ago departed the Husch Blackwell firm along with partners Stephen Hill and Lisa Krigsten and three other attorneys to work at Dentons, a global law firm with a large office in Kansas City.

This time, McInerney made the move on his own.

“I really like the approach Spencer Fane takes with clients when it comes to the partner model of being very involved with clients, not putting a lot of associates between the partner and the client,” McInerney said Monday. “That’s a really good model for my practice.”

Pat Whalen, managing partner and chairman of Spencer Fane’s executive committee, said McInerney’s arrival boosts the firm’s white-collar and internal corporate investigations group.

Whalen said Mark Thornhill, one of Spencer Fane’s leading white-collar defense and regulatory compliance attorneys, had referenced McInerney’s potential utility for the firm.

“I really see us scaling up with Pat’s experience and his profile in the state,” Whalen said.

McInerney, a graduate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, started his legal career at the Jackson County prosecutor’s office from 1990 to 1992. He then worked as a legislative director for Pat Danner, the former congresswoman representing Missouri’s 6th District as a Democrat from 1993 to 2000, during her first term in office.

McInerney moved on to become an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri until 1999.

In his private practice, which started at Husch Blackwell, McInerney has represented clients in high-profile defense matters.

He represented Douglas Lake, a former executive for Topeka-based utility Westar, against charges that he looted the company along with CEO David Wittig. Both men were tried twice — the first ended with a mistrial when jurors couldn’t reach a verdict, and the second resulted in a conviction that an appeals court later overturned. Federal prosecutors eventually dropped the charges against the executives.

McInerney more recently represented the St. Louis Art Museum against charges by the federal government that the museum had purchased an ancient Egyptian mummy mask that prosecutors claimed had been stolen and smuggled into the United States. The museum prevailed in that case and continued to keep the 3,000-year-old Ka-Nefer-Nefer funerary mask on display.

McInerney also defended Kansas City Mayor Sly James against claims brought by Clay Chastain that the mayor should be disqualified from the 2015 mayoral ballot because of late payments on personal property taxes. James prevailed and was elected to a second term in office while Chastain finished a distant last in that year’s primary election.

John Snyder, the managing partner of Dentons’ Kansas City office, declined to comment about McInerney’s departure other than to wish him well.

Steve Vockrodt: 816-234-4277, @st_vockrodt