U.K. firm Holman Fenwick Willan, which entered the U.S. market in 2017 by merging with Houston civil trial firm Legge, Farrow, Kimmitt, McGrath & Brown, has tapped mid-career partner Amanda Kujda as office head in Houston as founding partners reach or near retirement.
Kujda moved into the office head role April 1 as founding partner Jerry Kimmitt stepped down as office head and retired March 31. She is now a consultant for the firm.
Legge Farrow founders Kimmitt, Glenn Legge and Jim Brown had led the Houston HFW office from 2017 until the management transition that moved Kujda into the office leader role. She additionally heads the insurance/reinsurance practice in the office, while partner Michael Wray leads shipping and Cade White leads energy.
Kujda, who joined the firm in May 2021, said she was a little bit surprised she was tapped to lead the office but said “it’s the highlight of my career so far.” Because the firm is in a “global accelerated growth program,” she said, her role is to help move that initiative forward in Houston and the U.S. as a whole.
“I’m excited for the challenge. It’s a new element for me. It’s not just practicing law now,” she said.
Kimmitt said Kujda is well qualified to lead the office because she is intelligent, calm and decisive.
“She’s a natural leader,” said Kimmitt, who recruited her to the firm. She formerly was a shareholder at Hall Maines Lugrin in Houston.
As for growth, Kujda said HFW is focusing on building out teams in its global network of offices. The firm’s practice is in six sectors: aerospace, construction, commodities, energy, insurance/reinsurance and shipping.
Houston, she said, is focused on insurance/reinsurance, energy and shipping, and her goal is to add lawyers in the other three sectors.
In reflecting back on his time as office head, Kimmitt said he’s proud of the merger between his 20-lawyer civil trial firm with the global HFW.
“I’m proud of the growth and I’m looking forward to the future growth. The firm is committing money and resources and people to grow this office and hopefully grow in the U.S.,” he said.
The firm has more than 600 lawyers in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.