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CHICAGO � DLA Piper has hired former LaSalle Bank Corp. Chief Executive Norman Bobins, a longtime banking executive in Chicago, as a consultant to help expand the firm’s reach in the financial services industry and general Chicago business market. DLA said in a release that Bobins, who led ABN Amro’s North American banking businesses and LaSalle until retiring last year after LaSalle was sold to Bank of America, will provide “strategic counsel” for expanding in the practice area and be a resource for advising existing clients. Bobins will offer his services through a new consulting company that bears his name, the firm said. DLA’s strong suit historically has been in the real estate arena, but the firm has filled out its service offerings since its three-way, trans-Atlantic merger in January 2005 and has become the largest U.S. firm by worldwide attorney headcount. With help from Bobins’s Chicago contacts, DLA hopes to further break away from its real estate moniker in the city and draw attention to other legal services, said Bill Rudnick, who became managing partner of DLA’s Chicago office last month. “We will never sell short the quality of the real estate assets we have in Chicago, but we have a lot of other assets as well,” said Rudnick, who also leads the Chicago real estate department. The firm has experience in leveraging the experience and resources of non-lawyer consultants, Rudnick said, pointing to its 6-year-old relationship with the Cohen Group, a consulting agency in Washington led by former Defense Secretary and U.S. Senator William Cohen. Rudnick declined to provide specifics of the financial arrangements between DLA and either Cohen or Bobins. The Chicago office is the firm’s largest in an enterprise that includes 3,600 attorneys worldwide in 64 offices. One of the firm’s predecessor firms was founded in Chicago.

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