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Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads has created an investment management practice through the acquisition of the Corsell Law Group in Philadelphia. The creation of that practice wasn’t high on any management priority list, but Chairman Stephen A. Madva said the timing couldn’t have been better. “With more and more money in private equity offerings, it could not be more, I guess, current,” Madva said. Montgomery McCracken had started handling some investment management work through junior partner William L. Kingsbury out of the firm’s Berwyn, Pa., office. He was a general business partner, who through his Main Line contacts as a semiprofessional baseball player started handling some 40 Act work, Madva said. Kingsbury went to Madva with an interest in growing the practice and thought the firm could benefit from bringing on some experienced attorneys in the investment management area, Madva said. Some looking around eventually led to Laura Anne Corsell’s three-attorney boutique practice. She had gone out on her own in 1994 after leaving Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll when a few of the firm’s investment management attorneys went to Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Corsell said. Corsell said she tired of large law firm life and sometimes being told what to do. “If you’re short-tempered and short [on] patience, like I am,” she joked. So Corsell didn’t re-enter the large-firm world lightly. She said she had turned down several other offers in previous years and spent about nine months mulling over Montgomery McCracken’s offer. She said leaving her boutique practice and its independence was difficult but “Montgomery was almost irresistible.” The opportunity to expand a platform and the security that she wasn’t conflicted out were two pros to joining the firm, Corsell said. Most large firms, she said, have a national practice with a broad client base that might conflict out some of her smaller investment company and investment adviser clients. She said Montgomery McCracken is committed to the responsiveness and details needed for her specialized practice. “While it is in a growth mode, I don’t think that it wants to behave ever like a megafirm,” Corsell said. Montgomery McCracken’s Delaware office was also a major plus for her clients, several of which are organized in the First State. “Delaware is one of the jurisdictions that has deliberately structured its laws to be hospitable to regulated investment companies,” she said. While the investment management area is generally a large-firm practice with Corsell’s group having been one of the few boutique shops in the area, Madva said the practice could really be done from any location. He said you don’t have to be in New York or other financial centers to handle the work. Investment management is, however, a practice area that has a long, but limited history in Philadelphia. Bruce Leto heads up Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young’s investment management group. He said Philadelphia, along with Boston, is one of the few cities that have had a long-standing presence in the practice. That is mainly due, Leto said, to the presence of funds like Vanguard and PNC Bank’s PFPC in or near the city. The number of law firms who handle investment management work in the city, however, is limited, Leto said. By all accounts, Stradley Ronon, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Ballard Spahr and Morgan Lewis are the firms in town who have strong practices in the investment management area. Pepper Hamilton and Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen have smaller groups in the practice, attorneys in the area have said, and much of Morgan Lewis’ practice is based in Washington, D.C. Because of the few firms with longstanding practices and a lack of qualified people to hire, Leto said it is “a hard practice to break into.” Attorneys in the investment management field have several options other than working in law firms, Leto said. And the majority of competition in the practice is based in Washington, he said. Joining Corsell at Montgomery McCracken is of counsel Don E. Felice and associate Nigel Linssen. Firm Adds Nonprofit Lawyer In addition to adding a practice group, Montgomery McCracken has also brought on a new lateral hire. Karl E. Emerson, the former director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Charitable Organizations, has joined the firm as of counsel to help create a state charity registration practice. After 25 years working for the commonwealth, Emerson said he sent his resume around to area firms and Donald W. Kramer, the head of Montgomery McCracken’s nonprofit law practice, was the first to respond. Charities who have to solicit nationally have to register in 39 states, Emerson said, and he will focus his practice on helping to ensure those charities are in compliance with local laws. Currently, there are about 90,000 tax-exempt entities being formed annually in the United States, Emerson said, and many of those are charities. Emerson was brought into the Bureau of Charitable Organizations when it was mainly a filing center. He said he was charged with creating a prevention unit to help investigate fraud, and the unit now has five investigators, four auditors and a designated attorney. As part of his practice at Montgomery McCracken, Emerson said he would not only help clients with state regulations but would also handle internal investigations into compliance programs and handle risk analysis. Kramer said there are about six attorneys in the firm’s nonprofit practice who work in the area fulltime. “There’s been an awful lot more scrutinization applied to charities in the last 10 years,” he said. Boards of directors are much more aware that they need to pay attention to the potential for fraud, he said. “With Karl’s direct regulatory experience and our general legal � experience, this is a good combination for clients looking internally more than they did before,” Kramer said. Emerson started at the firm in early July and Corsell’s group came on in mid-June.

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