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Still reeling from mass defections in key practice areas, Buchanan Ingersoll’s Princeton, N.J., office is doing unto other firms what’s been done unto it: grabbing portable, stand-alone practice groups. Late last month, the firm announced its acquisition of the bankruptcy group from Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer of Woodbridge, N.J. The hirings came on the heels of Buchanan’s March 6 announcement of plans to open a new bankruptcy and creditors’ rights office in Wilmington, Del. The new additions, partners Louis DeLucia and Alan Brody and associates Thomas Halm and Roman Hirniak, bring Buchanan’s Princeton head count to 17 full-time lawyers, plus another 11 part-timers. It’s a start toward rebuilding ranks that were decimated by two waves of defections this year. In January, the partner in charge of the Princeton office, David Sorin, led 30 lawyers to the new Princeton location of Boston’s Hale & Dorr, including virtually the entire corporate group and the technology and licensing team, as well as some labor and employment lawyers and litigators. At the time, Sorin said the move was fueled by the need of clients for a national firm. Then, in early March, six intellectual property and patent attorneys led by Arthur Plevy departed to join the Princeton branch of Philadelphia’s Duane Morris & Hecksher. They cited the uncertainty of Buchanan’s future in Princeton and the opportunity to work with a large IP department as the reasons for their move. It happened that DeLucia was interested in finding a larger firm for his clients as well. The recent takeover by Boston-based Fleet Bank of New Jersey’s Summit Bank “put the exclamation point on the need for regionalization,” DeLucia said. DeLucia, who said he brings with him as clients Fleet Bank and Sovereign Bank, said Buchanan provides a better fit with the increasingly regional nature of the banking business than his old firm. With 142 attorneys in three offices in New Jersey and New York, Wilentz Goldman is less than a third the size of Buchanan. DeLucia said he was not deterred by the recent defections of three dozen attorneys in the corporate, technology, licensing, patents, labor and litigation departments from Buchanan Ingersoll’s Princeton office. “We were aware of it, but it did not give us concern, not at all. It was a practice group that was not at all necessary for us to do the work we do,” DeLucia said. Firm chairman William Newlin said new practice groups acquired by the firm nationwide have more than made up for revenue lost in the exodus from the Princeton office.

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