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Munsch Hardt Hires NY Labor, Employment Pro In Houston

Jun 7, 2021

Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr PC has added a labor and employment shareholder to its litigation practice group in Houston from the New York office of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC, where she was a partner.

Kelly Robreno Koster started with the firm Monday, marking her first foray into Texas after a decade working in the New York legal market, where she advised management clients in complex commercial and labor and employment disputes. Koster also served as general counsel for international staffing company Pride Global for about a year, where she advised on global employment law compliance matters.

Koster, who made the move to Texas with her husband and two children, told Law360 that aside from adjusting to the change in weather, she's been enjoying getting to know her new home.

"The New York market, as wonderful as it is, it's just fairly saturated," she said of how Texas got on her radar. And the amount of labor and employment work to be done in Texas, stemming from changes in the energy industry, made the state her top contender, she said.

"When the market is hot, no one ever complains about their labor conditions, but when it's down ... there's litigation to be had," she said.

Munsch Hardt was a good fit for her, she said, because its commitment to customer service aligned with her own.

Phil C. Appenzeller Jr., chief executive officer of Munsch Hardt, told Law360 on Monday that Koster is an accomplished attorney with extensive experience who will help the firm continue to grow its Houston office.

"We're very excited she's joining us," he said, noting Koster's hire comes at "an incredibly important point" for the Houston office's growth plan.

Appenzeller said of the 19 attorneys the firm hired last year, 14 were for the Houston office, and long-term the goal is to staff the firm's Houston and Dallas outposts at the same level.

According to a search on the firm's website, 49 attorneys currently practice out of the Houston office, compared to 88 in Dallas. Appenzeller said the firm's size and capabilities have made it somewhat of a "Goldilocks" for attorneys looking to make a move.

"I think the Houston market is hot and I think that a lot of our opportunities have been coming from two directions," he said. "Large, more national firms and attorneys are needing to find a better platform, and we've also had attorneys from smaller shops that need a bigger platform."

Koster earned a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in 2006 and graduated from the American University Washington College of Law in 2009. Following law school, she served as a clerk for former Chief U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in New Jersey.

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