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Akerman Senterfitt is trying to play catch-up. This month the 390-lawyer Miami-based firm announced the addition of its first three partners to its fledgling Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest office in Washington. While Florida-born giants Holland & Knight and Greenberg Traurig both expanded beyond the Sunshine State more than a decade ago, Akerman, the state’s No. 3 firm, acquired a tiny D.C. outpost just last year. The firm’s second non-Florida office will be up and running in New York later this week. Leading the new recruits is Richard Smith, the former acting chief of the Fraud Section at the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Smith co-managed the Justice Department’s unsuccessful attempt to prosecute former HealthSouth Corp. CEO Richard Scrushy. Also joining is Alexandre Ren�, formerly of counsel at Howrey, and Jean Edwards, formerly of Dickinson Wright. Currently, Akerman is subletting space on a short-term basis from Fulbright & Jaworski, but firm Chairman J. Thomas Cardwell hopes to expand the office from seven lawyers to three dozen in the next few years. “We run the risk of being marginalized as a Florida-only firm,” says Cardwell. “I don’t doubt the difficulty of doing this.” The Washington market isn’t always kind to regional firms � just ask Minneapolis-based Dorsey & Whitney, a firm whose D.C. head count has dropped from 55 to seven over the past three years.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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