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NEW YORK — Atlanta-based Troutman Sanders has acquired the 91-lawyer New York office of Dallas’ Jenkens & Gilchrist. The acquisition is a bold move for Troutman Sanders, which has about 600 lawyers but has not previously had an office in New York. “This is our first foray into the Northeast,” acknowledged Robert Webb, the managing partner of Troutman Sanders, who said the firm had made the acquisition a key part of its growth strategy. “We’re conscious of the need to stay competitive with the other firms in the AmLaw 100,” he said referring to the annual survey of the nation’s highest-grossing firms conducted by the American Lawyer, a Recorder affiliate. “There are not many firms in the AmLaw 100 that don’t have a New York office,” he said. Troutman Sanders’ Atlanta rivals have been among the most active firms in terms of lateral hiring. King & Spalding has hired many corporate and intellectual property lawyers for its 170-lawyer New York office. Alston & Bird had also steadily built its 80-lawyer office. Webb said his firm had faced considerable client pressure to open in New York. But he said it was also clear that the firm should have a decent-sized presence very quickly. In the New York office of Jenkens & Gilchrist, Troutman Sanders found its match. The office had long been rumored to be looking to leave the Dallas firm, which has about 450 lawyers nationwide. Jenkens & Gilchrist has been hit hard by litigation arising from a tax shelter practice based in Chicago. The firm has already agreed to pay $82 million to settle a class action by tax shelter users who later found their instruments declared illegal by the Internal Revenue Service despite a Jenkens & Gilchrist opinion otherwise. The firm continues to face litigation from individuals who used tax shelters for which the firm provided opinion letters. Webb said he could not comment on the litigation and its impact on former Jenkens & Gilchrist lawyers in New York. But he said he was not worried about such issues. The New York office of Jenkens & Gilchrist had been acquired by the Dallas firm in 2001 through a merger with the New York firm Parker Chapin. That office had practiced under the name Jenkens & Gilchrist Parker Chapin. The Parker Chapin firm was well-known in the city for its mid-market corporate and securities practices, though it had also been hurt by a scandal in the early 1990s, when one of its partners, Arnold Biegen, was arrested for stealing money from the campaign of then-Mayor David Dinkins, to whom Biegen had been a trusted adviser. The firm had previously been heavily involved in municipal affairs. Webb said he expected the New York lawyers to bring a great deal of corporate expertise as well as litigation capability to the rest of the firm, which also has offices in Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, London and Hong Kong. Anthony Lin is a reporter with the New York Law Journal, a Recorder affiliate.

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