Tim Busch and Michael Caspino have a clear growth plan in mind for their newly formed law partnership: make it the go-to firm for cases involving Roman Catholic entities nationwide.

Veteran litigator Caspino is chief executive of the recently rebranded firm Busch & Caspino. Busch is chairman, a post that allows room for him to take a “strategic and visionary” role over the roster of businesses under the umbrella of Irvine-based Busch Group.

Caspino was a founding partner of Brady, Vorwerck, Ryder & Caspino in Orange, which recently announced plans to dissolve its practice.

Caspino’s background gives Busch & Caspino—which had been known as the Busch Firm—added expertise to serve Catholic entities in litigation and human-resources-related matters. His arrival marks the first time the firm has offered litigation services to complement its longtime specialty of estate planning and other services it provided to Roman Catholic dioceses.

“I was already representing dioceses and schools and religious organizations,” said Busch, himself a Catholic, like Caspino. “But it was always corporate. We saw that a lot of their needs were litigation-oriented and human resources-oriented. Mike had that expertise—we didn’t. By his coming into our firm and bringing four attorneys, we now have the opportunity to serve the dioceses in that capacity.”

Busch & Caspino now has about 30 employees, including 10 attorneys and a certified public accountant, at its Irvine offices, which include a chapel that’s open to the public daily. The Queen of Life Chapel is overseen by Robert Spitzer, a Jesuit priest who is a former president of Gonzaga University, a Catholic institution in Spokane, Wash.

Busch said that legal business connected to the Catholic Church and its various affiliated entities—educational institutions ranging from elementary schools to universities and hospitals, among others—is an underserved niche that is “going to be the growth engine” for the firm.

“Expanding into religious organizations primarily will be (focused on) the dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church, but not exclusively,” he said. “We also could represent colleges, universities, schools, dioceses of other [religious] orders [of priests and/or nuns].”

Cases involving Catholic entities currently take up about 15% of the firm’s workload, and Busch said the plan is to increase that to be about 50% over the next year or two.

Civil, Canon Laws

Representing the Catholic Church and related faith-based organizations is based on “marrying the civil law and canon law,” Busch said, adding that canon law is the church’s own legal code, and that his firm can now offer expertise in both sets of laws.