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Another longtime labor and employment partner has decided to leave Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. Frank Sabatino, a 21-year firm veteran, is set to follow former colleague Michael Tierce to Reading-based Stevens & Lee. Tierce, a 15-year Schnader Harrison veteran and co-chairman of the firm’s labor and employment group, and two associates left for the Philadelphia office of Stevens & Lee earlier this summer. At the same time, it was learned that labor and employment partner Gary Tocci, a key figure in Schnader Harrison’s longstanding representation of United Parcel Service, would be leaving the firm for Reed Smith. Now Sabatino, who did not respond to repeated requests for an interview Tuesday and Wednesday, has decided to leave Schnader Harrison as well. Though no official timetable has been set, Tierce said Sabatino will be making the move by the end of the month. Reed Smith management also confirmed this week that Schnader Harrison partner Kimberly Kaplan and associate Jon Nadler will follow Tocci to the firm. Kaplan will join Reed Smith as counsel. Sabatino, who joined Schnader Harrison in 1981 after a two-year clerkship for U.S. District Judge William J. Nealon Jr., gears his practice toward representing trustees in ERISA work. Specifically, he represents the trustees of multi-employer pension funds for unions, such as the Teamsters’ Central Pennsylvania Fund and Philadelphia Fund as well as the Fraternal Order of Police Legal Services Fund, which provide health, welfare and pension benefits to thousands of union employees. “Adding Frank increases our Philadelphia labor presence and also adds a different dimension, with the multi-employer fund work,” Tierce said. “Now we have the complete package in Philly. And you also have to remember that Frank is just respected by everyone, even opposition counsel. He was a mentor to me and so many others.” Tierce said that Sabatino was a fixture at Schnader Harrison over the years, involved in practice management, hiring and the pension committee. Sabatino is a 1979 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School. In late June, Tierce joined Stevens & Lee along with associates Jo Bennett and Lisa Scidurlo. The additions of Tierce and Sabatino were partly in reaction to the retirement of Bob Bray, one of the original partners who started Stevens & Lee’s Philadelphia office four years ago. With the four Schnader Harrison lawyers in the fold, Stevens & Lee now has 13 lawyers in Philadelphia and 27 labor and employment lawyers firmwide. The labor and employment practice is concentrated in Lancaster and Valley Forge, but the group wants a presence in each of its offices for cross-selling purposes. As for Schnader Harrison, the firm still has five labor and employment partners in Philadelphia, led by chairman Allan Dabrow, fellow ex-Mesirov Gelman partners Gina Ameci and Ken Gilberg and original Schnader lawyers Nicholas Price and Elise Fialkowski. Firm management has said the firmwide practice group has about 12 partners and 20 total lawyers in it. Schnader Harrison chairman Ralph Wellington said Sabatino’s and Tierce’s departures were merely a product of them feeling more comfortable in a regional firm rather than one with national ambitions like Schnader Harrison. Tocci, who is said to have a seven-figure book of business, was joining Reed Smith. He did not start until Aug. 1 because he was held to a 60-day notice requirement by Schnader Harrison. Tocci’s decision was more a financial one, Wellington said. Wellington said the firm will look to strengthen its Philadelphia labor and employment presence through laterals but will not attempt to replace Sabatino’s niche ERISA practice. He said the firm has a strong ERISA practice and complements its labor and employment practice with several commercial litigators handling employment litigation matters. Since its merger with Mesirov Gelman two years ago, Schnader Harrison has lost several longtime partners, including corporate lawyers Yves Quintin and Larry Laubach and litigator Phil Kircher. This past spring, the firm lost the three partners who were considered the key players in the Mesirov Gelman merger, corporate and securities lawyers Richard Jaffe and Robert Krauss and tax lawyer Harvey Shapiro. Reed Smith, with the additions of Tocci, Kaplan and Nadler, now has 15 labor and employment attorneys in Philadelphia, which includes incumbent partners Sara Begley, John DiNome, Karl Fritton, John Quinn and Joseph Rudolf. Commercial litigator Carolyn Short is also a member of the group due to her focus on employment litigation. Reed Smith Philadelphia office managing partner Robert Nicholas said because both Reed Smith and Schnader Harrison are part of UPS’ core network of law firms, members of his firm were quite familiar with Tocci, and it gave the firm an upper hand when it was competing for his services.

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