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New York’s Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman has opened an office in Atlanta with four attorneys from the litigation firm Hawkins & Parnell. Common clients — including chemical compound manufacturer Celanese AG — spurred the opening of the new office, says local partner-in-charge, Michael E. Hutchins. The Kasowitz firm and Hawkins & Parnell split litigation work on shared clients, Hutchins says. Moving his team from H&P to the Kasowitz firm consolidates the litigation work under a single umbrella, he adds. Hutchins says he also has called on Kasowitz’ 18-attorney Houston office to be local counsel in litigation over the past three years. The Atlanta office of the Kasowitz firm will focus on toxic tort and complex commercial litigation. Hutchins brought Hawkins & Parnell partner Thomas G. Tidwell and associates Jason C. Odom and Frank A. Ilardi with him to the Kasowitz firm. The four attorneys were an insular practice team, Hutchins adds, and worked together closely. Hawkins & Parnell’s managing partner T. Ryan Mock Jr. says losing Frankfurt, Germany-based Celanese and the other client work will have no long-term effect on the firm. He says the chemical company was a good client but added that he wouldn’t call it a huge revenue-producer. While Hutchins says Celanese has no litigation pending in Georgia, the company calls on his team for their toxic tort expertise on cases in other states. Mock says Hawkins & Parnell is having a banner year but declined to provide any specific financial information on the firm. Marc E. Kasowitz, managing partner of the Kasowitz firm, says his firm primarily does litigation work. The firm represents Liggett Group Inc. and was the first law firm to help a tobacco company reach a settlement with plaintiffs in five states, Kasowitz says. He also says there are 92 lawyers between his firm’s New York and Newark, N.J., offices. Other clients of the firm include Solomon Smith Barney Inc. and the National Football League. Hawkins & Parnell has about 55 attorneys. Mock adds that the firm announced four new partnerships: Carl H. Anderson Jr., Stephen M. Bowers, David H. Wilson and Robert S. Thompson, effective July 1. Naming the four new partners was unrelated to the departures of Hutchins and Tidwell, Mock says.

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