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SAN FRANCISCO — New York’s 200-lawyer Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman has gone bicoastal snagging the small, but well-connected, West Coast firm of Topel & Goodman in San Francisco. Topel & Goodman, known for high-profile white collar defense, includes clients such as Reliant Energy Services Inc. and Jay Lapine, a former McKesson Corp., acquitted of a single criminal fraud charge last year. The merger with Kasowitz will be final on April 1, according to an internal announcement at Kasowitz firm March 21 and confirmed by William Goodman in San Francisco. The seven-attorney, Topel & Goodman firm has handled white-collar criminal defense as well as counseling corporations and individuals that may be the target of investigations. Clients have included Exxon, Unocal, Hughes Aircraft, Genentech and Ernst & Young. Kasowitz, founded in 1993, engages in civil litigation primarily, representing pharmaceutical, telecommunication firms, hedge funds, investment banks, computer companies and energy companies. It has represented Comcast in securities and corporate governance cases arising out of the collapse of [email protected], the Royal Bank of Canada in the Enron securities class action and defended the New York Port Authority and its insurers in the World Trade Center bombing trial.

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