Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
State lines are meaning less and less in the business of law on the East Coast. The expansion of multistate law firms into New Jersey continues nonstop. Managing partners continue to eye the state as a sanctuary for any approaching storm and as a must-be place in the emerging global, high-tech market — regardless of any national slowdown. The regionalization movement, which began about 15 years ago, has grown so competitive of late that the giants are cannibalizing each other within New Jersey, in the effort to stay competitive by offering broader geographic and practice area platforms. While large New Jersey firms have long talked of joining the movement, and while some have opened small branches across the Hudson and Delaware rivers, only the state’s biggest firm, McCarter & English, has actually done it big time — recruiting lawyers to build up its Philadelphia, New York and Wilmington, Del., branches. In the past 12 months, McCarter & English has hired five more New York laterals to join its Manhattan branch, now at 16 attorneys and close to 17, says managing partner Steven Hoskins. The plan is to be at 25 by the end of the year. The firm moved out of its small World Trade Center office after a decade and into 19,000 square feet of prime space on 300 Park Ave. The laterals come from Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker; Sidley & Austin; a spinoff of the defunct Shea & Gould; and other smaller Manhattan firms. Two of the five additions are corporate lawyers who handle securities matters, venture capital, private equity and investment partnerships, and IPOs. The branch will be co-managed by partner Richard O’Leary and a new partner, Roger Crane Jr., who this month joined after heading the litigation department at New York’s now defunct Bachner, Tally & Polevoy. With McCarter’s recent addition of John Lombard Jr., formerly the second-ranking partner with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius of Philadelphia, to its office there, that branch is now up to 14 lawyers. Lombard has represented the Philadelphia Museum of Art for 25 years. Meanwhile, the firm’s Wilmington office has added two laterals, bringing the total there to six. So McCarter & English has 36 lawyers in three adjoining states. Its out-of-state lawyers represent 14.1 percent of the 255-lawyer firm. “The new appointments … reflect a legal market in this region that is strong, dynamic and competitive as any in the country,” says Andrew Berry, who chairs McCarter’s executive committee. Other big northern New Jersey firms, including Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch of Florham Park and Newark’s Sills Cummis Radin Tischman Epstein & Gross, say they have been scouring Manhattan for months in search of an acquisition. OUT-OF-STATE FIRMS RAID EACH OTHER On Thursday, Pittsburgh-based Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling, which earlier this month opened an office in Newark, will open a branch in West Trenton with two lawyers from the dissolving 20-lawyer Philadelphia firm of Manta and Welge. The two attorneys are partner Mark Manta, a management-side employment lawyer who has been practicing out of Manta and Welge’s West Trenton office, and associate Christine Schultz. And he says Klett Rooney plans to increase the size of the office. Five other Manta and Welge attorneys — led by majority shareholder Joseph Manta, Mark’s father — are going to Klett Rooney’s Philadelphia office. The Pittsburgh firm has been expanding east by opening branches through acquisition, and has had a presence in New Jersey for two years with its 11-lawyer Cherry Hill office. Klett Rooney’s Alfred D’Angelo Jr., managing partner for the firm’s Pennsylvania and New Jersey operations, says the firm intends to close its Cherry Hill satellite and move those lawyers to Philadelphia or West Trenton. He says the firm believes the state’s growth will continue to be primarily in the north and central parts. The opening of the West Trenton office fits nicely with the early January opening of Klett Rooney’s Newark office, created by a five-lawyer defection from Newark’s Carpenter, Bennett & Morrissey. Both firms have strong employment law practices. Another example of a firm on the prowl is 400-lawyer firm of Thelen Reid & Priest, created in July 1998 by the merger of New York’s Reid & Priest with San Francisco’s Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges. The firm continues to look to expand in the Garden State. Last May, the firm acquired six attorneys who practice utility law and made up the Morristown branch of the 31-lawyer New York firm of Berlack, Israels & Liberman. Thelen Reid also picked up six other Berlack, Israels attorneys in Manhattan in the same practice area. “We’re looking to grow the office, beginning with the utility and related financing practices, but also to diversify into other practices with natural synergy for us,” says Gerald Conway, who is of counsel to the firm in Morristown. Conway reiterates what Klett Rooney’s D’Angelo and other regional firms say about the need to be in New Jersey. “Thelen has many clients who have New Jersey operations and we need to give them a better platform. We are experiencing synergies with our New York and Washington offices and must continue doing that.” He cites intellectual property and construction as two areas of natural growth for Thelen Reid in the state. KEY TURF IN NORTHERN, CENTRAL N.J. The largest example of regional firms now going after each other, as opposed to raiding talent still in New Jersey firms, was this month’s defection of 30 lawyers from the Princeton office of Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll to a nearby office opened by Boston’s Hale and Dorr. It is Hale and Dorr’s first foray into New Jersey and part of its strategy to become an East Coast power concentrating on high-tech clients. In addition to its base in Boston, the firm is in New York, Washington, D.C., Reston, Va., and, through a new relationship with a local firm, Raleigh, N.C. It lured Buchanan Ingersoll’s David Sorin and his corporate group and technology and licensing team. Sorin says he made the move to better serve his clients, not because he had problems with any of his colleagues. Of course, this is not the first chapter for Sorin in the interstate musical-chairs drama; he defected from Princeton’s Smith, Stratton, Wise, Heher & Brennan when Buchanan Ingersoll first established its beachhead in New Jersey. On a smaller scale, last July Philadelphia’s Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen snared a five-lawyer group from the Newark office of New York’s 120-lawyer Fischbein Badillo Wagner Harding. The group, led by partners Harold Rulvoldt Jr. and Cathy Fleming, is working out of New York while hunting for space in New Jersey. And Smith, Stratton recently lost partner Diane Frenier and associate Edward Bromley III to another Pittsburgh-based firm, Reed Smith, which has offices in Princeton and Newark. Moreover, when Hale and Dorr lured the Buchanan Ingersoll group, it was following the lead of Boston competitor Goodwin, Procter & Hoar, which last May hired 23 of the 56 lawyers at Roseland’s Friedland Siegelbaum. The Princeton Corridor area, New Jersey’s version of Silicon Valley, remains, of course, on the radar screen of most regional and national firms. Witness this month’s pickup of the core of the dissolving firm of Princeton’s Jamieson Moore Peskin & Spicer by Philadelphia’s 400-lawyer Pepper Hamilton, which is already ensconced in Cherry Hill. Sixteen Jamieson Moore lawyers who did not go to Pepper Hamilton were hired by another regional firm, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf of New York. Windels Marx, with its New Brunswick office, is also in Stamford, Conn., and Florida. In the New Jersey Law Journal‘s annual survey of the 20 top-grossing firms for 1999, two out-of-state firms made the list for the first time. Drinker, Biddle & Shanley moved to the No. 8 slot after the acquisition of Florham Park’s Shanley & Fisher by Philadelphia’s Drinker Biddle & Reath. Fox, Rothschild, O’Brien & Frankel, also of Philadelphia, acquired the Atlantic City firm of Horn, Goldberg, Gorny, Plackter, Weiss & Perskie and became Nov. 14. How long will it take for New Jersey’s top 20 to look more like the list for Washington, D.C., with many of its biggest firms headquartered elsewhere? Senior writer Henry Gottlieb contributed to this story

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.