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Some big names are defecting from Gilbert Heintz & Randolph. Name partner John Heintz and partners August Matteis, Richard Milone, and Donna Wilson are leaving to join Kelley Drye Collier Shannon’s D.C. office. They are expected to start at Kelley Drye in a week or so, says Paul Rosenthal, the managing partner of Kelley Drye’s D.C. office. The group follows a number of Gilbert Heintz attorneys, who have headed to the exits since last spring, when a New Jersey bankruptcy judge ordered the firm to return about $9.7 million in legal fees it earned representing a New Jersey flooring manufacturer in asbestos bankruptcy proceedings. Gilbert Heintz appealed, saying the firm would go under if it were forced to pony up the funds. But Chairman Scott Gilbert later said he believed the matter would be resolved consensually. Gilbert could not be reached for comment. One former Gilbert Heintz lawyer says some lawyers at the firm were not as confident as their leader. “Lawyers are very risk-averse,” he says. “Some people didn’t want to hang out and find out if the firm would survive.” With these defections, the firm’s lawyer count, according to its Web site, is 33 — down from about 50 a year ago.
Alexia Garamfalvi can be contacted at [email protected].

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