Dickstein Shapiro’s nine-partner corporate group based in Stamford, Connecticut, has left the firm for Holland & Knight.
The move founds Holland & Knight’s 25th office with a focus on corporate transactions and private equity. The firm has more than 1,000 attorneys in 22 offices in the U.S. and presences in Colombia and Mexico.
The Stamford-based attorneys at Dickstein Shapiro were partners Christopher Cerrito, Martin Clarke, John Flaherty, Thomas Freed, Evan Seideman, Lindsay Sheehy, Gloria Skigen and Victoria Zerjav, a counsel and two associates. Partner Merrill Ulmer, who was based in Dickstein Shapiro’s New York office, moves with the group as well. Seideman will be the office executive partner.
“This team of lawyers adds greater depth to our corporate and M&A practices, which have been steadily expanding over the past several years,” Steven Sonberg, Holland & Knight’s managing partner, said in a press release Monday. “The establishment of an office in Stamford, where many private equity funds are based, presents unique opportunities for the firm.”
The departures—12 lawyers in total—are part of an avalanche of outgoing laterals this year for Dickstein Shapiro, which has held on through years of defections and erratic financial results. When the firm previously pursued merger negotiations with Bryan Cave, the Connecticut group may have stood in the way, according to Bloomberg BNA’s Big Law Business and other sources.
As of the middle of last month, Dickstein Shapiro was in merger talks with Blank Rome after unsuccessfully discussing mergers with several other firms.
“Most of our group has practiced together for many years, and we are very pleased to become a part of Holland & Knight,” Seideman said. “Our concentration of mid-market corporate clients aligns well with Holland & Knight’s existing client base, and our fund clients will benefit from the firm’s broader platform.”
This isn’t the first time Holland & Knight seized an opportunity from a flailing Big Law competitor. In 2013 and 2014, the Florida-founded firm picked away several Patton Boggs practice heads, including a 23-lawyer chunk of its Dallas office, two members of firm management and several other partner. The majority of the laterals were corporate finance lawyers.
Dickstein Shapiro went from 343 attorneys in 2012 to fewer than 160 attorneys last month.
Dickstein currently has fewer than 120 lawyers, with almost half of them listed as partners on the website.
Since Jan. 1, the firm has lost 18 partners, including the Connecticut office, the managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office, Richard Leveridge, and antitrust litigators James Martin and Jennifer Hackett.
On Monday, Loeb & Loeb announced it had picked up another Dickstein Shapiro partner in Washington, Neil Lefkowitz, a corporate-transactions specialist.
Christine Simmons of the New York Law Journal contributed to this report. This post, originally published Jan. 29, was updated with additional information about where the Dickstein lawyers are moving.