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Kevin Silverang, who guided Buchanan Ingersoll’s Philadelphia office through turbulent times since joining the firm seven years ago, has resigned to take a position as a senior partner at King of Prussia-based real estate developer O’Neill Properties. Silverang, the co-managing partner of Buchanan’s Philadelphia office, as well as a member of the five-member executive committee and the 19-member board of directors, plans to depart the firm by March 15 after taking some time to transition his clients. His practice has been centered in real estate law, and he has also handled banking and litigation matters. When O’Neill Properties founder and chairman Brian O’Neill called him in early January, Silverang thought the inquiry was about hiring additional outside counsel being that the company’s primary lawyer, Pepper Hamilton partner Kevin Walsh, had been killed in a car accident last summer. But Silverang soon found that he was being targeted for a position as a partner inside the company, which contains a portfolio of more than $4 billion in real estate holdings and which focuses on development of luxury multifamily residential housing through the rejuvenation of old industrial and military real estate. “The death of Kevin Walsh was a tremendous tragedy, and Brian had to rethink the deployment of his legal services after that,” Silverang said. “But Kevin was more than a lawyer; he was Brian’s confidant. And when Brian reached out to me, he was looking for someone with business and legal experience. But I am happy at Buchanan and I have a lot of responsibility here. So it wasn’t until I found out that he was looking for a partner and not an employee that I became interested.” O’Neill said Silverang’s business acumen and legal talent would be leveraged to help the company continue its aggressive growth plans. “He joins as a business partner who will manage the transactional side of the business, leveraging his expertise in sophisticated real estate development and finance,” O’Neill said in a statement. “For the past two years, O’Neill Properties has quietly assembled the expertise, capital resources, and portfolio required to emerge as a national force in real estate development. Kevin’s appointment solidifies this pool of resources, positioning the company for tremendous growth and success.” After deciding to make the move on Jan. 26, Silverang met with Buchanan chairman Thomas VanKirk in Pittsburgh early last week and then gathered the Philadelphia office personnel to give them the news. “I’ve known for several years that Kevin had an entrepreneurial streak and was interested in the business world,” VanKirk said. “So I was surprised but not shocked when he told me. We’re just very fortunate that, largely due to Kevin’s efforts, we have a tremendous pool of talent in Philadelphia. So he leaves us in a good situation.” VanKirk said Silverang would be replaced in all three of his management capacities as well as in his role as the firm’s top real estate lawyer in Philadelphia. But no decisions have been made as of yet. Litigator Howard Scher, whom Silverang recruited to the firm three years ago, was named co-managing partner in Philadelphia last year, while environmental lawyer Steve Braverman serves as administrative partner. Sources familiar with the firm indicated that corporate lawyer Doug Coopersmith, another lateral from the Silverang era, has been groomed for a leadership position and is probably the leading candidate for that role. Coopersmith currently serves on the firm’s compensation committee. Silverang graduated from Villanova University School of Law in 1980 and began his legal career at Pepper Hamilton. He left with partner David Huggler in 1984 to form their own firm, but he only stayed with that enterprise for a year before joining Kaufman Coren Ress Weidman & Silverang. He joined Buchanan in 1997 and formally became co-managing partner in Philadelphia four years later. Buchanan spent much of the 1990s growing geographically and financially. But the firm fell on hard financial times two years ago and is still trying to recover. It has closed offices in northern Virginia and London and has lost key personnel in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Princeton. Despite the rocky road the firm has traveled, Silverang overcame some departures in Philadelphia and played a key role in its steady growth. During his tenure, the office has added a significant lateral hire each year. Franchise partner Arthur Press-man joined in 1998, Coopersmith in 1999, health care lawyer Thomas Tammany in 2000, Scher in 2001, intellectual property lawyers Robert Koons and Charles Bruton in 2002, and labor and employment lawyer Allan Dabrow in 2003. All but Pressman, who left last year for Nixon Peabody, remain in the fold. The office now has more than 70 lawyers. “There’s no way to underestimate the contributions Kevin made to this firm,” Scher said. “Every year he manages to bring in people who make [ The Legal Intelligencer's Top 10 lateral hire list]. So he really does leave us with a great group of people. And while it’s sad to lose him as a partner, this might open up more business opportunities for us.” O’Neill has not been a client of Buchanan’s. In fact, Silverang has handled matters for adverse parties to the real estate developer. In addition to heading O’Neill Properties’ acquisition side, Silverang will also manage the company’s legal services. He said there could be an opportunity for Buchanan to join firms such as Pepper, Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg & Ellers as outside counsel. As for the rest of his client base, partners Timothy Davis and Nancy Sabol Frantz will inherit the bulk of his real estate partners. His other client matters will be spread out among other transactional lawyers and litigators, Coopersmith said.

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