More than a dozen members of the Farmington law firm of Levy & Droney are leaving to join the Hartford office of Hinckley Allen & Snyder, a move that will apparently mean the dissolution of the 38-year-old Farmington firm.
Although Levy & Droney principals have not publicly commented about joining Providence-based Hinkley Allen, several longtime members of the Connecticut legal community said about 15 members of Levy & Droney will join the Rhode Island firm on Jan. 1. The move will boost the size of Hinkley Allen’s Hartford office to about 35 lawyers. Hinckley Allen, which will have about 155 attorneys once the hirings take place, also has offices in Boston, Concord, N.H., and Albany, N.Y.
Among those who will reportedly change firms are senior partners Coleman Levy and John Droney. Others who will make the move include C. Robert Zelinger and Dane Kostin, partners in banking and finance practice groups. About five Levy & Droney lawyers will not be moving to the larger firm.
Levy & Droney came in at No. 22 in the Connecticut Law Tribune’s latest “Trib 25″ rankings of top Connecticut firms. It reported $9 million in revenues in 2011, up from $8.6 million the previous year. It’s the second top firm in the state to be largely absorbed by Hinckley Allen in recent years. In 2008, Hinckley Allen made its move into Connecticut by acquiring 25 lawyers from the now-defunct Tyler Cooper.
The 2008 hires created new strengths for Hinckley Allen in the areas of financial services and bankruptcy. The firm’s other major practice areas include corporate, construction, real estate and health care law.
Dan Kleinman, the managing partner at Levy & Droney, has said there is no formal announcement of the hiring agreement and declined further comment.
John Droney, who heads up the firm’s litigation practice, has held many positions of political prominence in the state. He’s former chairman of the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee and was a senior advisor to U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd. His brother, Christopher, is a U.S.District judge in Connecticut.
Levy, who leads the business and finance practice at the firm, is on the board of directors of the Hartford County Bar Association and a former owner of the New Britain Rock Cats minor league baseball team. Neither could be immediately reached for comment.
William S. Fish, who practices business law for Hinckley Allen in Hartford, was the managing parter at Tyler Cooper in 2008 when the similar hiring move took place. Unlike Levy & Droney, however, that firm had been losing revenue for a few years before most of its partners were hired away.
Although he would not confirm or discuss anything about the Levy & Droney deal, Fish recalled the feelings by many at his former firm when it was announced they would be picked up by Hinckley Allen. At the time, he said, some who were offered an opportunity to change firms did not make the move over. Now, he said, “it was the best thing we ever did.” He explained that larger regional firms can provide attorneys and their clients with added resources and, often, efficiency.
At the same time, speaking in general terms, Fish said the end of a law firm is almost never a cause for celebration.
“You can’t help but feel some some bittersweetneess, in terms of there being a name that will no longer be in the legal landscape,” he said. “That having been said, the excitement of joining Hinckley Allen far outweighed anything else.”