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Washington litigation shop Shea & Gardner will merge with Boston-based Goodwin Procter in October, according to the managing partners of both firms. Once the merger is complete, Goodwin Procter, with 500 lawyers in Boston, New York, New Jersey and D.C., and 70-lawyer Shea & Gardner will be known as Goodwin Procter. “This combination supports our vision of positioning Goodwin Procter as a national law firm,” said Regina Pisa, the firm’s chairwoman and managing partner. Shea & Gardner managing partner John Aldock said the merger will “enable us to offer our clients a wider range of services with the support of a national platform.” John Liftin, general counsel of Prudential Financial Inc., a client of both firms, said the transaction will make them stronger. “The complementary skill sets of each firm should result in a combination that is better than the sum of the parts,” he said. A few years ago, Pisa said, Goodwin Procter implemented a strategy to grow from a “super-regional law firm” to a national one. She said firm partners decided to expand in New York and D.C., two markets necessary for a national presence. The merger will produce an 85-lawyer D.C. office. The firm is already one of Boston’s largest, and it has grown to about 100 lawyers in New York. Checking the market Last October, the firm, which at the time had fewer than 30 lawyers in D.C., began checking out the local market. “We spent a fair amount of time evaluating all the firms in Washington, D.C., and made some judgments of who we wanted to talk to,” Pisa noted. “Shea & Gardner was at the top of the list.” Goodwin’s need to find a D.C. partner was intensified late last year when 16 lawyers from its financial services group in D.C. departed to form their own firm, Buckley Kolar. The move left the office with just 11 lawyers. But, Pisa said, at the time the group broke off, Goodwin was already in talks with Shea & Gardner.

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