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Art Stroyd is a Pittsburgh lawyer through and through. He knows the courts. He knows the judges. He knows the companies. It’s what he likes. So it would make sense that his position at Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith was the perfect fit, particularly given the fact that Stroyd had already been there for 32 years. But the former head of the litigation department and practice leader for the products liability and insurance coverage groups decided late last year that it was time for a change. Earlier this month Stroyd joined four of his former Reed Smith colleagues who started their own firm in 2003, Del Sole Cavanaugh. The Pittsburgh-based firm is now known as Del Sole Cavanaugh Stroyd. Stroyd said Stephen J. Del Sole and Patrick K. Cavanaugh had tried to get him to make the jump for the last few years, and while he was interested, Stroyd said inertia had set in. When the firm made another overture at a basketball game about a year ago, Stroyd thought it was “now or never.” As Reed Smith became more of an international firm, set to complete two large-scale mergers by March, Stroyd said his practice was becoming more international. “I found more and more that I was doing fewer and fewer cases out of Pittsburgh,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to live out of a suitcase. Stroyd’s practice focuses on commercial litigation and products liability work. “My hourly rate was getting pushed to the point that not as many Pittsburgh companies were able to or willing to pay that for the work,” he said. “The kinds of cases that I want to handle are the kind of cases that Reed will refer away anyway.” Maura McAnney of McAnney Esposito & Kraybill Associates said she doesn’t anticipate big fallout for firms post-merger. She said larger firms have become much better at institutionalizing clients and companies have become used to paying higher rates. Stroyd said he and Reed Smith split on the best of terms. He said the firm is working off of a great model, and under Chairman Greg Jordan’s leadership, there is “no limit to how well and how successful it can do.” Reed Smith Chief Marketing Officer David S. Egan said that as a firm grows, there are bound to be changes that affect good lawyers and good practices. He said it is how a firm handles and anticipates those changes that make the difference. A good referral system might be the result. Reed Smith and Stroyd had a most amicable split. Stroyd is at the firm at least once a week for lunch or to visit a friend. Stroyd said he joined Reed Smith because it was a close-knit firm, largely focused around Pittsburgh. As that changed, he said he wanted to get back to focusing his practice on Pittsburgh. Stroyd said he made up his mind before Reed Smith’s mergers with London-based Richards Butler and Chicago-based Sachnoff & Weaver were announced. “Those have been more bricks in the wall from my standpoint,” he said. Since making the move, Stroyd said he has had several calls from colleagues at other large Pittsburgh firms who are asking questions or considering a move. For those who have been with firms for as long as Stroyd, he said loyalty often makes it difficult for an attorney to make the switch. The idea of leaving the support and administrative backing of a 1,500-lawyer firm is also a scary proposition, Stroyd said. There have been a few in the Pennsylvania market, however, who have jumped ship recently, citing rate increases or practices that no longer fit into their firm. After 21 years, John Quinn left Reed Smith earlier this month for the Philadelphia office of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott. “Reed Smith’s a global firm, and its main focus is on the global market,” Quinn said at the time of his move. “I think that the rates reflect that.” Shortly after the merger between Buchanan Ingersoll and Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling, Jay Panzarella left the firm for the Pittsburgh office of Pietragallo Bosick & Gordon. Panzarella is now co-chairman of the firm’s business practice group. While he doesn’t think there will be a mass exodus of attorneys from the largest Pittsburgh firms, he said the growth of those firms is “absolutely” creating opportunities for the smaller firms. It comes down to service delivery and how legal matters are managed, he said. “It’s a commodity business I’m in,” Panzarella said. “It’s just a matter of how we do what we do.” Jack Barbour, chief diversity and integration officer of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, said he hasn’t noticed any trend of departures because of mergers. It has always been the case that certain partners’ practices may no longer fit their firm’s model. Barbour said many of the big firms in Pittsburgh are split-offs from the large firms that were there 50 years ago. Unlike some of the other mergers by Pittsburgh firms, the Buchanan Ingersoll-Klett Rooney merger was designed to better serve Pennsylvania clients across the sate, Barbour said. Peter J. Kalis, chairman of K&L Gates said that while his firm has always been reluctant to add on certain practice areas, like insurance defense, he thinks a mix of practices creates a healthy environment. “A skilled practitioner whose belly is on fire is a highly valued asset” regardless of what they practice, he said. Kalis said it isn’t anything new for the firm’s Pittsburgh office to handle national, and more recently international, work. He said his lawyers have grown up putting their show on the road, but still have a strong commitment to the city. It is a false dilemma, Kalis said, of the perception that a host of practice groups that are priced at different levels are incompatible. He attributed this dilemma to the reporting of financial data in the AmLaw 100 and 200. If a firm creates a less whole and balanced environment, it is probably easier to spike the profitability numbers on the AmLaw charts, he said. A mix of practice areas, including those with lower rate caps, may mean that certain partners are paid less because of the rates in their practice, but it doesn’t affect the people at the top of the food chain, Kalis said. They will still take home high profits, he said. What a mix of groups does affect, he said, is the average for the profits per partner (PPP) indicator. That may have some firms looking to rid themselves of less profitable practice areas in order to maintain a higher overall PPP for reporting purposes, he said. “A firm like mine, which has a history in various markets of serving those communities and growing big with those clients, relegates its history to the dust bin at its own risk,” Kalis said. As K&L Gates and Reed Smith expand along with a global economy, Stroyd said the result is somewhat of an erosion of the Pittsburgh culture and esprit de corps. Panzarella said the change he has noticed most is that Pittsburgh firms are doing their work in other cities, making the offices in the Steel City services offices. “We’re just not running into each other on transactions anymore,” he said. Those services offices can become a major part of the city’s economy, Egan said. As the major Pittsburgh firms are growing, it makes the legal industry that much more prominent within the city. That benefits the industries surrounding the firm, such as accounting or administrative fields. While Barbour hasn’t noticed much of a culture change, he said the city’s attorneys probably keep US Airways in business out of Pittsburgh because of all the traveling they do.

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