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The Next Generation of Leaders

Boulder Law Firm Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti LLP Begins a New Chapter with a New Managing Partner

Article by Jessica Mordacq

Photography by Poppy & Co. by Kelsey Huffer

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

George Berg, David Hill, Rick Greenleaf and Giovanni Ruscitti started the full-service law firm Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti (BHGR) in 2001. What began as a boutique firm in Boulder that focused on construction and real estate now has more than 60 attorneys covering over 40 areas of law in offices in Colorado, Wyoming and California. 

And a new era of growth is on the horizon for BHGR. On Jan. 15, BHGR’s most recent managing partner, Giovanni Ruscitti, passed the baton to Kathleen Alt, formerly the firm's chief operating partner. “She is an excellent choice and will be a great leader of the firm as we head into our next chapter,” Giovanni says of Kathleen becoming BHGR’s third managing partner.

George Berg was the firm’s first managing partner. When George brought together David Hill, Rick Greenleaf and Giovanni Ruscitti to create BHGR, he envisioned uniting some of the region’s best lawyers in a variety of practice areas. Together, they created a cost-effective, boutique firm with the qualities of a larger firm.

“He saw a law firm that could break some barriers,” Giovanni says of George. “I knew we had created something special; a legacy practice.” BHGR began receiving positive feedback from Boulder businesses and lawyers who wanted to join the firm, largely because George prioritized hiring attorneys with a similar mindset about legal excellence and commitment to their community. 

“Initially, the firm was very entrepreneurial, even scrappy, and this spirit helped establish the firm’s client base,” Kathleen says. As the number of the firm’s clients grew, in 2016, George stepped down, passing the role of managing partner to Giovanni. During 8 years in the position, Giovanni enhanced the firm’s culture, especially during and following the pandemic. 

“The historical events in 2020, 2021 and 2022 changed every aspect of, not only running a law firm, but how we viewed and lived our everyday lives,” Giovanni says. BHGR established a social responsibility committee, which responds to societal issues in real-time, and a mentoring committee. Giovanni and the firm’s other partners also placed more of an emphasis on mental health and wellness, plus improved compensation and benefits. Giovanni will serve as general legal counsel to the firm as Kathleen takes over as BHGR’s managing partner, continuing its legacy. 

Kathleen joined BHGR as an associate, later becoming the firm's first female equity partner and then its first chief operating partner. Now, she’s the firm's first female managing partner, a notable accomplishment for BHGR and in the male-dominated legal industry. “While women comprise over 50% of our law school classes and bar, the numbers are far lower at the firm leadership level,” says Kathleen, who is one of just a handful of managing partners in Colorado who are women. 

“One of my personal goals from the beginning of BHGR was to diversify the makeup of our partners, attorneys, and staff as the makeup of graduating law students diversified,” George says. Giovanni agrees: “I have been a big proponent of our diversity plan, which, frankly, is very challenging in Boulder. It's hard to attract diverse candidates in our community.” But, he adds, “picking Kathleen had nothing to do with her gender.” Instead, she was chosen for her leadership and decision-making skills, plus her impressive experience in jury trials. Kathleen’s promotion, Giovanni says, “represents a literal and figurative transition from the four founders to the next generation of leaders.” 

“I am excited about the next generation of lawyers and cannot wait to be a part of their professional and personal development,” Kathleen agrees. “I am excited to set the firm up for success through this next decade. Finally, I am motivated by the continued legal excellence and work we do for our clients. This provides a great deal of satisfaction and is why we are all here, to begin with.”