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As one of McNees Wallace & Nurick’s attorneys leaves to join Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s administration, another government appointee has left Rendell’s camp to join the firm. David M. Barasch, former U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and a former attorney general hopeful, took a position offered to him by an old friend in the governor’s administration. Barasch will serve as the executive deputy secretary in the Department of Revenue under former McNees Wallace client, and now secretary of the department, Thomas Wolf. As Barasch departs, McNees Wallace has added the former director of the state’s Department of General Services, Bureau of Minority and Women Business Opportunities. Tyrone A. Powell joined the firm as of counsel and will serve in its business counseling and construction law practices. Barasch’s departure also means the departure of the firm’s only white collar litigator, a group firm Managing Attorney David M. Kleppinger said was starting to take off. Barasch was the U.S. attorney for the Middle District from 1993 until 2001 and served as the Consumer Advocate for Pennsylvania from 1983 to 1990. Kleppinger said Barasch had been with the firm for almost four years, but spent part of that time running for Attorney General. His practice was taking time to build, but was starting to pick up, Kleppinger said. “[Barasch] was quite torn about returning to government service because of his new niche for us,” he said. Barasch had become friends with Wolf when Wolf was a client of the firm’s and Wolf had supported Barasch in his run for Attorney General, Kleppinger said. When Wolf made a call to Barasch to offer the job, it was “difficult not to accept,” Kleppinger said. McNees Wallace doesn’t have anyone that could immediately step in to handle the white collar practice, but, he said, the firm is “actively seeking to fill that spot.” As the white collar practice hit a bit of a road block, the firm has added other capabilities with the addition of Powell. When Kleppinger heard that Powell was thinking of leaving his post and moving back to Texas, McNees Wallace stepped in to try and persuade him to stay in central Pennsylvania and work for the firm. McNees Wallace is a member of the Capital Area Managing Partners Diversity Initiative and had known Powell through the group and the firm’s work with the Dauphin County Bar Association, Kleppinger said. Part of the diversity initiative is to retain diverse talent in central Pennsylvania, he said. “Here is a guy who has been successful and he was about to leave,” Kleppinger said. Powell, a former president of the Keystone Bar Association, said he brings credibility to the firm’s ability to counsel minority- and women-owned businesses on attaining government contracts. When Powell first started with the Rendell administration in 2003, less than 1 percent of the $5 billion a year the state designated for goods, services and construction was spent on contracts with women- or minority-owned businesses, he said. When he left in late March, that number was up to nearly 10 percent, he said. Places of higher education as well as private companies in central Pennsylvania are becoming increasingly aware of the need for supplier diversity, Powell said. Because McNees Wallace represents several educational institutions, Powell said he could serve as a counselor to those clients on diversity initiatives. He said he could help firm clients learn how to win state contracts. “Our objective is to get Tyrone in front of clients,” Kleppinger said. “He can capitalize on his contacts.” Because he worked part time in private practice, Powell has somewhat of a book of business. He represents Fortune 500 companies in Pennsylvania and elsewhere as well as retailers and emerging minority-owned businesses. He will focus his practice at McNees Wallace on real estate, construction and business counseling. He had some experience with real estate work during his time as an in-house counsel for Rite Aid. Powell is chairman of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation’s scholarship committee and heads the Keystone Bar Association’s continuing legal education committee. His wife will remain with Powell & Powell, and the firm will soon be renamed The Powell Group.

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