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Cozen opens Denver office After referring cases from the Rocky Mountain region to them for more than a decade, Cozen O’Connor has decided to bring aboard a three-attorney group and open an office in Denver. Senior partner Brad Breslau, partner Richard Rardin and associate Jennifer Poynter, all lawyers with the firm Grund & Breslau, opened a 4,000-square-foot office at 707 17th St. in downtown Denver. In addition, Thomas Dunford, a longtime Cozen partner in the firm’s Seattle office, will be relocating to Denver. All four lawyers concentrate on subrogation and recovery work for clients in the Mountain region including Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. “We’ve had a need for an office in the Rockies ever since we opened our Seattle office in 1983,” Cozen O’Connor chairman Stephen Cozen said. “We’ve been working with Brad and his group for such a long time, and we came to rely on them more and more over time. So one day Elliott Feldman [chairman of the firm's national and international subrogation and recovery department] came to me and said that we were paying [Breslau] a lot to be a local counsel, so it might make sense to bring him in. We felt we could generate more work [in the Rocky Mountain region] if we had a presence in Denver.” Cozen said that Dunford decided to relocate because much of his caseload was already based in the Mountain region and the firm was interested in having an incumbent Cozen partner on the ground in its new office. Breslau said his practice is split between subrogation and commercial litigation but that the rest of the group focused primarily on subrogation. He said the firm signed a six-year lease and there is potential for growth. “We hope the office will grow and be successful,” Breslau said. “We certainly think the potential is there. A lot of insurance carriers have regional offices here.” Cozen said that the firm might build the office out the way it did with sites such as Dallas and Atlanta – starting with subrogation lawyers but expanding to a variety of practice areas. But he added that is not imperative for a satellite site to be successful. “We are satisfied that we can make money out of the insurance litigation business in Denver,” Cozen said. “If we could make even more money by adding other practices we would do it, but we think we will do just fine with the subrogation.” - Jeff Blumenthal Nelson Levine heads to Columbus Nelson Levine de Luca & Horst recently launched an office in Columbus, Ohio. Open for business June 1, the office is staffed by Mark LeMaster, who served as staff counsel at the Ohio Department of Insurance before joining Nelson Levine as an associate and the new office’s sole attorney. Firm chairman Michael Nelson cited Columbus’ status as a state capital and the insurance industry’s “very strong presence” in the city as reasons behind the expansion. “We have a fair amount of contact with those insurers,” Nelson said. The Columbus-based Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., which has sometimes retained Nelson as national class action counsel, may also have been a contributing – though, according to Nelson, not a deciding – factor in the decision. Prior to his work at the DOI, LeMaster worked with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office in Columbus. In the trenches with the economic crime unit, he handled white-collar crime including RICO, insurance fraud and embezzlement cases. His first job out of Columbus’ Capital University Law School, LeMaster spent three and a half years as an Assistant Franklin County prosecuting attorney. At the DOI, LeMaster became highly involved with the revising of Ohio’s uninsured/underinsured motorist laws. He was exposed to Nelson during Gilchrist v. State Farm, a class action suit filed in November of 2002 in which Nelson Levine represented Nationwide. LeMaster has “Ohio perspective on the insurance industry,” Nelson said. “With Mark’s regulatory background, we expand our ability to do everything an insurance company could need in both regulation and business consulting advice,” Nelson said, adding that the expansion helps his firm provide “a complete spectrum of service to the insurance industry.” Founded in August 2000, the Blue Bell-based firm grew from nine lawyers to 26 in a two-year period – just over one new hire every other month. The latest expansion is consistent with founding partner Robert Horst’s September 2002 prediction that “the firm will have maybe three or four offices on the Eastern seaboard.” Nelson Levine also maintains an office in Princeton. – Spencer Willig

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