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It used to be that in times of economic uncertainty, New Jersey’s largest law firms were cautious about growth. They generally didn’t open new offices in other states or buttress existing ones, even as satellites of regional firms encroached. These days, caution has been thrown to the wind blowing eastward over the Hudson. Of the 20 top-grossing firms in New Jersey, 12 have out-of-state offices, including 10 in New York. Lowenstein Sandler of Roseland is opening a midtown Manhattan office this week. Earlier this year, Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch of Morristown expanded its New York office. And Newark’s Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione plans to double the number of attorneys in its Manhattan office by year’s end. This year’s growth spurt is prompted by a drive to move from being statewide players to regional ones, say managing partners. And as usual, clients are the driving force. For example, Lowenstein Sandler’s new office represents an expansion of the firm’s corporate and commercial financing practice. Partner Miriam Cohen will head the satellite, at 1330 Avenue of the Americas, between 53rd and 54th streets. “That’s right in the heart of the commercial-finance industry,” says Cohen, who was most recently a partner with New York’s Hahn & Hessen. She will be joined by two other partners and up to four associates. The addition of these seven lawyers brings the number of lawyers in the firm to 196, and managing director Michael Rodburg expects to add another 14 to 29 more by the end of 2001, depending on the economy. The firm will occupy the entire 21st floor, which can accommodate 16 to 20 attorneys as well as support staff, he says. Since many asset-based lending transactions involve higher-risk loans, the firm can service those clients in the event of default, Rodburg says, adding: “It’s a natural segue for the bankruptcy group.” “This gives us the opportunity to really serve the metropolitan region,” Rodburg says. “In terms of servicing clients, they don’t see the river,” especially because so many businesses have interests across state lines. Gibbons Del Deo plans to double the size of its 55th Street office, from 21 to more than 55 lawyers, by the end of the year. Managing partner David Sheehan says the move is not optional. “Our clients are really leading us in that direction,” he says. The newly added attorneys will strengthen the corporate litigation and patent practices, in the New York office, which also handles commercial litigation, securities, intellectual property, antitrust, drug product liability, laboratory defense, employment, bankruptcy and insolvency. To accommodate the expansion, Gibbons Del Deo is looking for an additional 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of space in Manhattan. The current office takes up about 20,000 square feet and already is too small, Sheehan says. Pitney Hardin added to its New York office this year by acquiring 14 lawyers from Kane, Dalsimer, Sullivan & Levy in New York City to become its intellectual property group. The office first opened in 1995 with three attorneys and now has about 25. Ronald Janis, managing partner of the New York office, says the team will focus on corporate law and venture capital in addition to intellectual property. “Increasingly, our corporate clients are either based in New York or transacting business there, and we need to increase our presence to meet their needs,” he says. The expansion could bring the number of attorneys at Pitney Hardin from about 160 now to nearly 200 by year’s end, says Anthony Marchetta, a member of its executive committee. Another firm, McElroy, Deutsch & Mulvaney, based in Morristown, will be doubling the size of its modest New York office from three to six attorneys in the Wall Street area in the coming months, says managing partner Ed Deutsch. The office focuses primarily on litigation but does some corporate transactions. “Work just continues to grow,” Deutsch says.

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