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Morgan Lewis & Bockius tapped into the corporate counsel pool with its addition of Lawrence A. Gross as a partner in the firm’s business and finance practice group. Gross started with the firm yesterday in its Philadelphia office after spending 20 years at SunGard Data Systems as its general counsel and most recently as the chief legal officer and chief administrative officer. When the company went private in 2005, Gross decided he was ready for a change. He said he stayed on to help transition his replacement and began mutual discussions with Morgan Lewis. “I had a great job,” he said. “I felt that it would be easy to stay and I wanted to challenge myself.” Morgan Lewis did work for SunGard for the past 10 years or so, Gross said, and he built a relationship with the firm through that work. He said the firm has been very supportive of him and the company over the years. Gross wouldn’t comment on whether SunGard would become a bigger client of Morgan Lewis, adding that the company already is a large client for the firm. Gross said there is no concern about the fact that he isn’t bringing over a book of business. “It just is what it is,” he said. “I think I will pursue my contacts around the world for business.” Gross will focus his practice on mergers and acquisitions and high-tech transactions, areas he said he had a lot of experience with while at SunGard. Gross said he completed about 150 transactions and financings during his tenure with the company. He helped the company go private last year in a deal that was worth $11.4 billion. He said he also hopes to work on international matters. Frank D’Amore of Attorney Career Catalysts said that Gross was one of the only attorneys at SunGard when he joined and built a legal department that was one of the most respected in the area. “It’s a coup for Morgan Lewis to get him,” D’Amore said. “He’ll be an instant hit.” D’Amore said Gross should be able to tap into the contacts he has made worldwide and will be able to create a practice off that. Gross’ legal department extended into areas like Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, places D’Amore said are key to Morgan Lewis as well. Albert S. Dandridge III of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, and chairman of the business law section of the Philadelphia Bar Association, said that Gross’ joining Morgan Lewis was probably a “marriage of opportunity.” He said there was most likely a skill set that fit the firm’s needs and an opportunity to solidify a relationship with SunGard. Prior to joining SunGard, Gross was in private practice for about seven years after law school.

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