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When Swidler Berlin voted to merge with Boston-based Bingham McCutchen, the firm’s 12-person insurance practice knew it would be conflicted out of the deal. So when the group, which represents policyholders such as Waste Management Inc., Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., and Wisconsin Electric Power Co., began deliberating about where to make a new home, the attorneys had two choices. They could look to a firm that had no insurance coverage group whatsoever or turn to one that already had a practice in the policyholder arena, such as Covington & Burling or Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky. With litigation matters becoming increasingly national, the group chose the latter option, deciding to join Heller Ehrman’s 50-attorney insurance group. “There is a lot of overlap,” says Barry Levin, a former chairman and insurance practice head at Heller. Swidler’s group, which includes partners Mark Plumer, Bernard Bell, David Klein, and Peri Mahaley, will be the only crew in Washington. They start this week. “This is bittersweet for all of us,” Plumer says.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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