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One day after managing partner Henry Latimer announced he was bolting Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott’s Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office for Greenberg Traurig, prominent former federal prosecutor Bruce Udolf announced that he, too, is leaving Eckert Seamans for a partnership at Fort Lauderdale-based Ruden McClosky Smith Schuster & Russell, beginning Monday. Udolf, 49, said the move grew out of ongoing talks with Marc Nurik, chairman of Ruden McClosky’s white-collar practice division in Fort Lauderdale. “We’ve been talking for years about joining forces and developing a good white-collar practice,” Udolf said. “I came to Eckert Seamans for the opportunity to work with Henry Latimer, and when he decided he was leaving, this seemed to me the optimal time to make a move.” Udolf said the split with Eckert Seamans was amicable. Udolf is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in South Florida. He prosecuted former Miami Beach Mayor Alex Daoud and Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez. He also spearheaded the Operations Green Palm and Court Broom corruption prosecutions. He now represents former FBI agent David Farrall, charged with DUI manslaughter following a 1999 head-on collision that killed two men in Broward, Fla. Nurik said he’s excited to have Udolf in the white-collar group, which provides criminal defense, regulatory and compliance counsel, and assistance with internal investigations. Nurik said he started the group in 1998, and it’s since grown to six attorneys, including Udolf. “It’s become a very, very fast-growing area,” Nurik said. “We’ve been trying to get [Udolf] aboard for some time,” he added. “But now … whatever’s happening with Eckert is an opportunity for us.” Udolf’s departure further reduces Eckert Seaman’s dwindling Florida presence. Over the last three years, the firm has closed offices in Tallahassee, Miami and Boca Raton, Fla. The remaining office in Fort Lauderdale was cut to four lawyers Monday when Latimer announced his departure for Greenberg Traurig; he took with him associates Caran Rothchild and Dionne Wong. Latimer cited the firm’s lack of diversified services as the reason for ending his seven-year tenure at the firm. Dennis Veraldi, chief operating officer for Pittsburgh-based Eckert Seamans, said the firm’s executive committee would decide whether to close the nearly depleted office — and whether to maintain any presence in Florida at all. “Obviously, there are fewer lawyers at the office, so we’ll have to look at that,” he said. Udolf’s legal career began in 1979 as a judicial clerk, followed by stints as prosecutor and assistant prosecutor in Georgia. In 1987, he went to work for the U.S. Department of Justice, where he remained for 11 years, five of them spent as chief of the public corruption unit in South Florida. In 1997, Udolf was named an assistant in the Whitewater investigation headed by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. Acting under Starr, Udolf secretly met with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky to coax her into testifying against President Clinton. Udolf returned from Washington in 1998 and joined the Miami firm Mishan Sloto Greenberg Hellinger & Udolf. There, Udolf helped his partners try to recover millions lost by Miami investors in the Unique Gems International scandal. A year later, Udolf joined Eckert Seamans. Udolf, who lives in Cooper City, Fla., said he enjoyed working with Latimer. “He’s one of the top lawyers in the state and one of the most wonderful human beings I’ve ever worked with,” he said.

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