Woods Oviatt Gilman, a 70-attorney firm based in Rochester, has tied up with Fix Spindelman Brovitz & Goldman, a small corporate and commercial real estate firm in Rochester. Before the combination, Fix Spindelman had 12 attorneys, said its managing principal, Richard Brovitz, adding that eight of these attorneys, including himself, are joining Woods Oviatt. Other partners coming to Woods Oviatt are Jerry Goldman and Betsy Brugg. James Bonsignore, Paula Lapin and Reuben Ortenberg are joining as of counsel. The other four Fix Spindelman attorneys have joined other firms, Brovitz said.

The two firms have worked together for years, referring cases to one another and acting as co-counsel, firm leaders said. "We were just finding ourselves referring a lot of business out because we didn't have the practice groups" that could handle it, such as intellectual property and securities work, Brovitz said. The combination also provides a succession plan for Fix Spindelman, although that was not an incentive for the move, Brovitz said. James McElheny, managing partner of Woods Oviatt, said the group joining from Fix Spindelman brings added depth and support to areas in corporate, business transactions, real estate development and land use.

Fix Spindelman's roots go back to 1851 and Woods Oviatt to 1852. Brovitz said Fix Spindelman is taking Woods Oviatt's name and the eight lawyers will move into Woods Oviatt's Rochester office.