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A little more than a year after recruiting two partners back to the firm to restart its environmental practice, Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen has dipped into the fertile resource that is its own offshoot — environmental boutique Manko Gold & Katcher. Kermit Rader, one of Manko Gold’s senior regulatory and transactional partners, has decided to join his former colleagues at Wolf Block. Kenneth Warren and Steven Miano rejoined Wolf Block in December 1999, 10 years after leaving to form the Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based Manko Gold. Rader, also part of the original Manko Gold group, officially joined Wolf Block last week. Warren, who now heads up Wolf Block’s environmental group, said the practice has grown steadily over the past year and has reached the point where bringing in another experienced partner became a necessity. Warren is busy with his environmental litigation practice while Miano’s time is booked with regulatory work. But the firm’s real estate department has called on them to handle the environmental side of their transactions with more frequency. While the environmental group has added an associate in Philadelphia and has two partners in Delaware, the demands from the real estate department became overwhelming. “There are only so many hours of the day, and those real estate transactions require more than a third- or fourth-year associate,” Warren said. “And we just have too much of our own stuff to service the real estate department the way it needs to be. Kermit has almost 25 years experience on the transactional side, and he’ll be perfect handling that kind of work for us.” For Rader, the move back to Wolf Block is an opportunity for him to serve as the primary attorney on matters that would have normally been handled at Manko Gold by one of the firm’s name partners, all of which are transactional/regulatory lawyers. “I’ve been a partner at Manko Gold for the past several years and during that time I’ve done the same sorts of things,” Rader said. “I felt I was stagnating and that I needed to make some changes. While this is an old and established firm, the environmental department is new and growing rapidly. I just thought there would be a lot of opportunities for me here.” Rader, a 1978 graduate of George Washington University School of Law, joined the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., after completing his education. He eventually transferred up to the EPA’s Philadelphia office, where he first met Miano and headed up the Superfund division. In 1987, Rader joined Wolf Block as an associate and moved with the entire environmental group when it left to form Manko Gold in 1989. Rader said he expects to handle more real estate-related work than he did at Manko Gold but he will continue with the regulatory portion of his practice. Warren said he is pleased with the growth of the practice since his arrival. Wolf Block has added associate Michael Crane and two Wilmington-based partners, Mary Maloney Huss and Christopher Dunne, for assistance. And further depth will come from the recent merger with Cherry Hill, Pa.’s Kozlov Seaton Romanini Brooks & Greenberg, which has a partner, Don Romanini, who handles some environmental work. “Environmental is clearly a state-based practice so I think it’s important for our clients to have people in place who know the rules of a particular jurisdiction,” Warren said. “I think we now have enough critical mass to handle sophisticated environmental matters. The plan is to grow, but how much depends largely on the amount of business we generate.” When asked if Manko Gold would not be pleased with Wolf Block once again plucking away one of its more senior lawyers, Warren said he believes that name partners Joseph Manko, Marc Gold and Bruce Katcher understand the opportunities that each lawyer has received by making the move. “I think it’s fair to say they were disappointed [in each case] but they recognized that I was getting the chance to head up the department and that Steve was getting the chance to supplement his regulatory practice with the resources they have here,” Warren said. “And in Kermit’s case, he’ll get to sit first chair on several matters. I don’t sense that there are bad feelings from [Manko Gold].” Gold confirmed that there is no animosity from his perspective and that he understands why the trio of partners decided to leave. “We all came from Wolf Block,” Gold said. “Being in a boutique requires different skill sets than being at a large firm. And some lawyers like being at a big firm where they can work with lots of lawyers in different practice areas. Here, we just handle environmental matters, and we’ve just completed a banner year. Kermit was a fine lawyer for us, and we’re sorry to see him go. But it won’t have much affect on us.” Manko Gold, which now stands at 20 lawyers, added former Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley partner Joseph McGovern to its New Jersey office last year as well as several lateral associates to its Philadelphia office, Gold said.

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