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McCarter & English, New Jersey’s largest law firm, is the latest out-of-state invader to penetrate Hartford, Conn.’s legal market, opening the doors to its new digs at One Financial Plaza on June 12. Initially, the 250-lawyer firm’s local outpost will be staffed by just two lawyers — partner Catherine A. Mohan, formerly a member of Hartford’s Danaher, Tedford, Lagnese & Neal, and ex-Halloran & Sage sixth-year associate John J. Robinson — and focus mostly on toxic torts and product liability defense work. However, McCarter & English Chief Marketing Director David E. Rawson, said the firm plans to mold its local presence into a more general practice by “fairly aggressively” recruiting lawyers from other Hartford-area firms. Its goal is to grow the 4,500-square-foot office to roughly 10 attorneys over the next year or so, he said. “The fact that there is a good, solid [array of law firms] there now doesn’t mean there’s not … specific kinds of opportunities to capitalize on,” Rawson said. Opening the office is part of McCarter’s strategy to extend its reach throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, and coincides with McCarter’s recent addition of what had been Danaher Tedford’s six-lawyer Baltimore office. Danaher Tedford name partner R. Cornelius Danaher Jr. said his firm is disappointed to see Mohan leave, and wishes her well. As for the firm’s future in Baltimore, that is under evaluation, Danaher said. Danaher, Tedford’s Hartford and Westport offices, however, remain “very active,” he said. Based in Newark, McCarter now has eight offices, including ones in Manhattan, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Del., Cherry Hill, N.J., and Boca Raton, Fla. “It’s a wonderfully vibrant market from [Washington] D.C. to Boston, even with the downturn in the financial services industry,” said Andrew T. Berry, chairman of McCarter & English’s executive committee. While out-of-state firms have long targeted New Jersey for expansion, McCarter, according to Rawson, is the first Garden State firm to fight back by expanding to other states to any large degree. Though moving into new markets requires careful consideration, when such opportunities arise, “It’s almost ‘Why shouldn’t we open this office?’ than ‘Why should we?’ ” Berry said of competing with other multistate firms. BROADER PLATFORM Having an outpost in “New York City only extends you up to Fairfield County,” Rawson added. But from Hartford, McCarter can serve both existing and new clients throughout all of Southern New England, he said. Among the clients McCarter already represents in the Mid-Atlantic region are a handful of companies Mohan represents in asbestos-related claims pending in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, she said. Joining with McCarter, a firm also specializing in asbestos-litigation defense, will allow those clients, whom Mohan declined to name, to be represented more effectively, she noted. In addition, managing a local outpost for a regional firm like McCarter & English was an opportunity Mohan couldn’t pass up, she said. Berry said McCarter has roughly 60 litigators concentrating on product liability cases. He called the Hartford office “a bigger platform [for Mohan and Robinson] and a broader platform for us to serve our litigation clients of all sorts.” Mass torts lawyer Eric W. Wiechmann, partner in charge of Cummings & Lockwood’s Hartford office, said that though McCarter & English is well-regarded in legal circles, its name is largely unknown to most Connecticut corporations. “Their growth will obviously depend on who they attract to staff the office,” Wiechmann maintained. On that front, however, McCarter can expect a talent pool already stretched thin due to inroads made by competitors from Boston, New York and other large legal markets over the past decade, he said.

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