Bressler, Amery & Ross of Florham Park, N.J., has established a Birmingham, Ala., office with 11 lawyers from Maynard, Cooper & Gale, a 200-lawyer firm in that city.
The move, effective Monday, strengthens practice areas in which Bressler already concentrates—securities litigation and employment law—and brings its headcount to 110.
The deal was years in the making, both firms say, pointing to a long-standing relationship through common representation of numerous clients in the banking and financial sector.
Leading the defectors, all partners, is A. Inge Selden III, a securities lawyer who now heads the Birmingham office—temporarily located in the Wells Fargo Tower until new space is found.
Having a platform in the New York area is increasingly important in representing financial services clients, says Selden. “We’re getting a very enthusiastic response from our clients,” some of whom already have agreed to come along, he says.
Another Maynard Cooper recruit, Carole Miller, was made co-chair of Bressler’s Labor and Employment group.
Also joining Bressler are employment lawyers Stephen Brown, Janell Ahnert, Audrey Dupont, Rima Hartman, and Stuart Roberts and securities lawyers Andrea Greene, Joshua Jones, Kathryn Dietrich Perreault and Bradley Rounsaville.
For Bressler, the move was more about adding quality depth than breaking into the Alabama market. Despite its southern roots, Maynard Cooper has handled matters in the contiguous 48 states, Selden says.
Bressler managing partner Brian Amery says the firms have been co-counsel representing such clients as UBS, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Bank of New York, CitiGroup and Wells Fargo.
“I only do business with people who I know for a long time and who I like,” Amery says. “Everything starts with a personal relationship—if that doesn’t exist, it doesn’t happen.”
Amery says the firm looks to grow the Birmingham office by adding other practices: trust and estate, fiduciary litigation, commercial litigation and corporate. “We’re hoping over time it’ll be a full-service operation.”
Birmingham is Bressler’s fourth office, opened a decade after its expansion into Florida. In 2004, the firm corralled an eight-lawyer securities group from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Miami. The office now has about 15 lawyers and in 2012 moved from Miramar to downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Aside from the Florham Park headquarters, Bressler also has a 25-lawyer office in Lower Manhattan.
After the departures, Maynard Cooper’s attorney headcount is 204, according to its website. The securities practice group lists 18 lawyers; the employment group, 14.
Other practice areas include litigation, corporate law, trusts and estates, government, intellectual property and antitrust.
The firm, founded in 1984, has three other offices, all in Alabama: Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.
Selden has been with Maynard Cooper from the beginning. An 11-partner group split off from Cabaniss Johnston Gardner Dumas & O’Neal to form the firm, and Selden was one of 15 associates that followed.
He says the departure this month was amicable. “We’ve left as friends, and I expect we will remain friends,” he says.
Maynard Cooper managing partner Mark Drew agrees, saying, “I’m sad to see them go and wish them the very best.” He says there are no plans yet to hire replacements, but the securities and employment practices remain strong. “We’ll continue to grow organically as the need arises,” he adds.