Whether they were gaining or losing groups of lawyers, undergoing leadership transitions, splitting up or merging, midsized firms across Pennsylvania experienced a number of significant changes in 2013.
Several Pennsylvania firms also opened new out-of-state offices with group laterals. Likewise, a few out-of-state firms opened up shop here in a similar fashion.
The cumulative effect is that many firms across the state are heading into 2014 looking considerably different than they did at the start of 2013.
Most recently, on Dec. 9, Philadelphia-based White and Williams announced that it had elected Patricia Santelle to a three-year term as its new managing partner and chair of its executive committee following the sudden death of managing partner Guy Cellucci.
Santelle is the first woman to be elected to that position in the firm’s history.
On the same day White and Williams made that announcement, Pittsburgh-based Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott announced the retirement of Heidi B. Hamman Shakely, who was the chair of its board of directors, member-in-charge of its Harrisburg, Pa., office, head of its insurance coverage and compliance group and a member of its executive committee.
The firm said member Mark A. Fontana took over as head of the Harrisburg office Dec. 1, but CEO Tim Ryan said the firm had yet to choose successors to lead the board of directors and insurance coverage practice or to fill the vacancy on the executive committee.
In November, Stephen S. Aichele, who served as Gov. Tom Corbett’s chief of staff until stepping down in July, returned to Philadelphia-based Saul Ewing, where he was previously chairman.
Aichele rejoined the firm as a partner in its real estate practice. His last day with the Corbett administration, in which he had been serving as senior adviser since stepping down as chief of staff, was Oct. 18.
In October, Philadelphia-based Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller announced it will undergo the first major leadership change in its 19-year history Jan. 1, when Chairman William T. Hangley steps down and hands over the reins to new Chairman Mark A. Aronchick and Vice Chairman Ronald P. Schiller.
The firm said the move marks the first step toward eventually transitioning key leadership responsibilities from the firm’s founders and senior shareholders to a younger generation of lawyers.
October also saw Maryland-based Offit Kurman add five-lawyer tax and estate planning boutique Fineburg Law Associates to its Philadelphia office.
The move came on the heels of litigators Philip Vogler, Michael Haley and Adam Brownstein joining the firm as principals in its construction and claims litigation practice group from Flaster Greenberg at the beginning of August and completed a 50 percent increase in the Philadelphia office’s headcount in recent months, from 16 attorneys to 24 attorneys.
Fineburg Law founder Herbert Fineburg joined to serve as co-managing principal of the Philadelphia office, and attorneys Ted Greenberg, Joseph Armstrong, Joseph Hayes and Frank Noyes joined as principals.
Columbus-based general practice firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease opened a Pittsburgh office in October with three energy lawyers from Jackson Kelly.
About a year-and-a-half after merging their Indiana, Pa.-based oil and gas boutique Gormly Gormly & Yuhas into the Pittsburgh office of West Virginia-based Jackson Kelly, oil and gas lawyers Kevin M. Gormly and Melissa McCoy Gormly joined Vorys as a partner and of counsel, respectively.
Abigail L. Marusic, who had been an associate at Jackson Kelly, also joined Vorys as an associate.
In September, Philadelphia-based Deeb Blum Murphy Frishberg & Markovich split up.
Partners Peter J. Deeb, Stephen H. Frishberg, Inez M. Markovich and Frank G. Murphy, along with associate Kevin G. McDonald, joined Anderson Kill on Oct. 1.
Partner Joseph H. Blum, meanwhile, joined Shook, Hardy & Bacon, along with associate Erin Loucks.
Also in September, white-collar attorney David M. Laigaie left Philadelphia-based Dilworth Paxson to join Eckert Seamans’ Philadelphia office as a member and head of the firm’s corporate investigations and white-collar defense practice.
In August, Pittsburgh-based Burns White hired Manning J. “Jim” O’Connor II, former managing partner of Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman’s Pittsburgh office, along with two other former Cohen Seglias partners and a senior counsel.
O’Connor and former Cohen Seglias partners Mark Stadler and Patrick Sorek joined Burns White as members Aug. 1, as did former senior counsel Douglas C. Hart.
Also in August, Pittsburgh-based Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote opened its first South Carolina office.
The new office, located in Lancaster, S.C., was the product of the firm’s acquisition of two-attorney workers’ compensation defense boutique Miller Lawrence.
It was also the second new location Dickie McCamey opened in less than four months.
The firm opened in April a Cleveland office with three litigators from Cleveland-based Gallagher Sharp, including the firm’s former products liability practice group chair.
In July, Philadelphia-based Christie, Pabarue, Mortensen and Young announced it would change its name to Christie Pabarue & Young when its seven-lawyer insurance coverage defense team, led by co-founding shareholder Bradley J. Mortensen and including managing shareholder Ralph J. Luongo, left to open a Philadelphia office for Northern New Jersey firm Carroll, McNulty & Kull.
Joining Mortensen and Luongo were shareholders Elaine Whiteman Klinger and Cynthia Ruggerio and associates Susan Bradford Thauer, Elizabeth A. Bartman and Anneliese Scott.
July 1 saw the four attorneys who made up Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based medical professional liability boutique Galli and Reilly join Philadelphia-based Post & Schell.
Galli and Reilly principals Richard R. Galli and Mary Ellen Reilly joined the firm as principals in the professional liability defense department.
Galli and Reilly associates Mary Beth Morris and Thomas R. Chawluk Jr. joined the firm as associates.
In June, Halmon L. Banks III, who had been a partner at the workers’ compensation firm formerly known as Martin Banks until his acrimonious departure the month before, opened Banks Law, his own three-lawyer firm.
The move came about three months after Banks, while still a partner at Martin Banks, filed a suit claiming the other partners at the firm had taken steps to drive him out of the firm, including steering big cases away from him, firing his paralegal without his consent and limiting his access to the firm’s case management software.
In April, Pittsburgh-based Thorp Reed & Armstrong and Detroit-based Clark Hill signed a merger agreement, creating a new firm with 12 offices and more than 300 lawyers. In the markets where Thorp Reed already had a presence, the firm is known as Clark Hill Thorp Reed.
The month before the merger, Thorp Reed’s four-lawyer employee benefits and executive compensation practice left to join Saul Ewing’s Pittsburgh office, according to several sources in the Pennsylvania legal community.
The partner-in-charge of the practice, Sarah Lockwood Church, along with counsel Joni Landy and senior counsel Paul A. Kasicky and Kevin A. Wiggins, have since joined the office.
In March, Valley Forge, Pa.-based The Chartwell Law Offices acquired nine-lawyer, Miami-based maritime and admiralty law firm Houck Anderson, giving Chartwell 13 attorneys in Florida and 85 attorneys firmwide.
In February, Atlanta-based labor and employment boutique Fisher & Phillips expanded its Philadelphia office with the addition of partners Rick Grimaldi and Lori Armstrong Halber from the Philadelphia office of New York-based Jackson Lewis.
February also saw Blue Bell, Pa.-based insurance defense firm Stewart Bernstiel & Rebar change its name to Stewart Bernstiel Rebar & Smith with the addition of Michael J. Smith as a shareholder from Cozen O’Connor.
Cozen O’Connor member Bryan Petrilla joined Smith at Stewart Bernstiel as a partner.
In January, Philadelphia intellectual property boutique Volpe and Koenig hired its first nonlawyer executive director.
Albert J. Simone has joined the firm from Eckert Seamans, where he spent five years as assistant executive director of the Philadelphia office.
Also in January, Dinsmore & Shohl, Cincinnati’s largest law firm, named Anthony A. Ditka managing partner of its Pittsburgh office and Cherry Hill, N.J.-based Flaster Greenberg brought aboard two-lawyer firm Fried & Epstein, an insurance coverage litigation boutique that represents policyholders.