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A Smith, Gambrell & Russell partner has left the firm for DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary’s brand-new Atlanta office and three other partners are making the same move next week. Michael E. Rubinger left Smith Gambrell on Tuesday, joining DLA Piper as a partner in its corporate and securities practice group. Richard G. Greenstein, the partner in charge of Smith Gambrell’s franchise and distribution-law practice group, will join DLA Piper on Monday. Two other partners in the franchise group, Richard E. Johnson and Gerald C. Wells, also will join DLA Piper. “This affects a very small segment of our practice in the franchise area,” Smith Gambrell managing partner Stephen M. Forte said in a telephone interview from London. “We have franchise expertise on the regulatory side and litigation side and we intend to continue that practice.” Smith Gambrell has four other attorneys in its franchise-law group: partners Thomas M. Barton, Jason S. Bell, Rex M. Lamb III and John H. Spillman. Rubinger did not return calls to his DLA Piper office. Greenstein, reached at Smith Gambrell on Thursday, declined to comment. DLA Piper’s managing partner for Atlanta, Mark E. Grantham, confirmed Greenstein would be joining his firm, but declined further comment. Among Greenstein’s clients are the Blackstone Group L.P., a New York-based private equity firm that owns the hotel chain Extended Stay America, Berkshire Realty Holdings, and other properties. Forte declined to speculate whether Blackstone or other clients would follow Greenstein to DLA Piper. “[Smith Gambrell] is coming off a record year and we’re enjoying a record year right now,” Forte said. “I don’t see any of these partners leaving derailing these accomplishments.” Baltimore-based DLA Piper opened its Atlanta office in April with 12 lawyers from Hunton & Williams and Jones Day. Last month DLA Piper lured Jeffrey M. Leavitt from Arnall Golden Gregory and Douglas R. Spear from Morris, Manning & Martin to lead its emerging companies and venture capital group. DLA Piper, which has leased two floors at One Atlantic Center, wants to have 50 lawyers on board in Atlanta by year-end. DLA Piper’s clients with a major Atlanta presence include United Parcel Service Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and the American Cancer Society. DLA Piper has also advised Kia Motors Corp., which may build a manufacturing plant in west-central Georgia. Andy Peters can be reached at [email protected] Meredith Hobbs contributed to this article. She can be reached at [email protected]

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