KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Spencer Fane announced today that Patrick J. Whalen began serving as the new Chairman of the firm. As Chairman, he plays a leading role in providing strategic direction and setting policy. Whalen succeeds Michael F. Saunders, who served 15 years as firm Chairman. "Businesses face an increasingly complex set of economic, regulatory, and legal risks. They require an agile law firm able to partner with them, share risk, and create innovative solutions," Mr. Whalen noted. " Spencer Fane has a long tradition of legal excellence, efficiency, and a deep understanding of our clients' businesses. This combination uniquely positions Spencer Fane to deliver the practical and effective solutions necessary for our clients to convert challenges into opportunities," Whalen added. Mr. Saunders added, "I am proud of what Spencer Fane has accomplished over the past 15 years. Pat Whalen is a superb choice to handle the next stage in the law firm's direction and growth. I will do everything I can to assure a smooth transition and to contribute to the ongoing success of Spencer Fane." Mr. Whalen holds degrees in Economics (BA), Business (MBA) and Law (JD). He is a frequent speaker and writer on topics at the intersection of business and legal strategy. Recognized by his peers as a global thought on technology and internet legal issues and cited by KC Business Magazine as the top choice for companies involved in intellectual property disputes, Mr. Whalen will continue to serve clients throughout the financial services and technology industries. "We look forward to further enhancing our commitment to client service and value by collaborating with our clients to achieve their goals," Whalen concluded.