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Washington, D.C.’s Hogan & Hartson has agreed to acquire 104-lawyer, New York-based Squadron Ellenoff Plesent & Sheinfeld in a deal expected to become effective at the end of February. The long-rumored pact, announced by both firms Monday in a joint statement, represents the fruition of almost a year of talks between the two firms. In acquiring Squadron, 800-lawyer Hogan, the largest firm in D.C., will also gain the primary outside counsel advising News Corp., the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Five Squadron litigation partners will not be participating in the merger, however, and a number of associates are also expected to leave. Not counting those five partners, Squadron currently has 87 lawyers in New York, including 35 partners. The firm’s Los Angeles office has 17 lawyers, seven of whom are partners. Squadron lawyers will constitute the majority of Hogan’s New York lawyers, who presently number 42. Squadron managing partner Ira S. Sheinfeld will become the managing partner of Hogan’s New York office. Partners at both firms said Hogan’s global presence makes it a good match for the smaller Squadron. Apart from Washington, D.C., and New York, Hogan has domestic offices in: Baltimore; Boulder, Colo.; Colorado Springs, Colo., Denver; Los Angeles; Miami; and McLean, Va. The firm has overseas offices in Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, London, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Tokyo and Warsaw. “It just made eminent sense,” said Sheinfeld. “Hogan instantly gives us a global platform and strong regulatory and legislative practice capabilities.” Hogan chairman Warren Gorrell said the acquisition will add resources to the firm’s existing New York-based mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and litigation practices. “Having more resources, especially with people who have established relationships with significant companies, is obviously helpful,” said Gorrell. Squadron has a long and well-established relationship with News Corp., dating back virtually to the firm’s founding in 1970. Arthur Siskind, the News Corp. general counsel, was one of the founding partners at Squadron. Siskind said he had discussed the merger with both firms, but added that the company played no role in the merger talks, which began last February. Siskind said he expected the merger to strengthen both firms. “It will put them in a better position to compete for business,” said Siskind. “It will certainly put them in a better position to compete for our business.” FOUNDING PARTNER’S DEATH The merger comes little more than two weeks after the death of Squadron Ellenoff founding partner Howard Squadron. Squadron died Dec. 28 at the age of 75, following a long struggle with melanoma. At the time of his death, Squadron was not active in the firm, Sheinfeld said. It is largely due to Squadron that News Corp. and Squadron Ellenoff have such close ties. When Murdoch began his company’s initial expansion into the U.S. market from Australia in 1973, Squadron served as the company’s stateside counsel. The historic bond is strong enough that, although Squadron is not generally ranked among the top New York mergers and acquisitions law firms, News Corp. has called on the firm to represent it in some high-profile merger work, including its $5.3 billion acquisition of television-station-operator Chris-Craft Industries in 2000, and the company’s recent failed bid to acquire satellite television company Hughes Electronics. Earlier, Squadron had advised Murdoch on his acquisition of the New York Post and several other publications. Among the many current Squadron attorneys who work regularly on News Corp. matters are corporate partners Stephen Kay and Jeffrey Rubin, tax partners Mark Weinstein and Philip Altman and litigator Slade Metcalf. The increasingly global nature of News Corp.’s operations has led the company to rely on a number of larger firms. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has advised the company on Asian acquisitions and operations. News Corp. has also used: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; London-based Allen & Overy; and Chicago’s Kirkland & Ellis. Hogan also has a relationship with News Corp., based on domestic and international M&A work, as well as on the firm’s Washington-based communications practice group, which has dealt with the Federal Communications Commission on the company’s behalf. For example, Hogan won FCC approval for the Chris-Craft acquisition while Squadron handled the transactional work. Hogan had profits of about $550,000 per partner last year, according to The American Lawyer‘s Amlaw 100 list of the highest-grossing law firms in 2000. Squadron did not make the list. Squadron spokeswoman Elizabeth Kennedy would only characterize Squadron’s profits as “comparable” to Hogan’s. The combined firm will continue to work out of both Squadron’s offices at 551 Fifth Ave. and Hogan’s offices at 875 Third Ave., though Sheinfeld said the firm will eventually have a single New York office. The five Squadron partners who have decided not to join Hogan are Lawrence Byrne, Joseph P. Armao, Lance Croffoot-Suede, Ira Sorkin and Clifford Thau. Byrne, Armao and Croffoot-Suede said in a statement they decided not to join the merger because Hogan has significant conflicts with important clients they service. They are looking to join a law firm together. Thau will be joining the New York office of Houston-based Vinson & Elkins in February as a commercial litigation partner. Until two weeks ago, Thau was co-head of Squadron’s litigation department and a member of the firm’s management committee. He said he decided not to join the merger because he felt Vinson offered him a better opportunity than Hogan. Sorkin could not be reached for comment.

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