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Philadelphia-based Fox, Rothschild, O’Brien & Frankel, which has traditionally focused its growth pattern on the Delaware Valley, has decided to branch out geographically to Pittsburgh by acquiring 12-attorney Kabala & Geeseman. The union becomes official on Oct. 1. The Kabala firm, which focuses on health care matters, employee benefits and trusts and estates, also has employment, commercial litigation and corporate tax capabilities. The firm, founded in 1973, needed more depth in securities-related practice areas to satisfy client demand, founding partner Edward Kabala said. The two sides began discussions in the spring and just recently reached an agreement. “It was not a situation where we would add a few lawyers and expect to do a good job,” Kabala said. “We looked at a lot of firms and this one fit best. Fox Rothschild has a different style management [then most other large firms]. It’s a more regional approach where each office has someone on its executive committee.” Fox Rothschild Chairman Louis Fryman said even though the firm is venturing outside the Delaware Valley, he sees the Kabala addition as consistent with the firm’s growth pattern — where it acquires small firms and aggressively integrates them into Fox Rothschild. In July 1999, Fox Rothschild merged with 11-attorney Power Bowen, which has offices in Doylestown and Sellersville, Pa. Earlier that year, Fox Rothschild added 36 attorneys and two offices by merging with Atlantic City’s Horn, Goldberg, Gorny, Plackter, Weiss & Perskie, which had a small Voorhees, N.J., site. A 1996 union with Lansdale, Pa.’s Pearlstine Salkin Associates added 18 attorneys, as did a 1993 merger with Trenton, N.J.’s Katzenbach Gildea & Rudner. “This was an opportunity brought to our attention that we liked,” Fryman said. “We won’t veer from our regional (focused) growth plan. We just like this particular opportunity. “There was continuity in a general sense and specifically. They strengthen us with health care, ERISA and estates, and we strengthen them in areas they don’t have expertise like IP. We now use the attorneys from all of our offices on large matters. For example, if we need some extra litigators, we can go to Downingtown and Lansdale. We think that’s the best way to integrate new lawyers; get them involved.” Kabala will enter Fox Rothschild as a partner and member of the firm’s executive committee. His practice is geared toward health care. Fellow founding partner and health care lawyer Robert Geeseman will come in as a special counsel. Other health care lawyers include partners William Maruca and Michael Wiethorn. Partner Susan Jordan leads the ERISA practice, while partners Kenneth Lewis and John Meck head up the trusts and estates group. The other partner is litigator William Stang. Counsel Stewart Snodgrass and associate James Olson practice tax law, while associate Susan Brahm Gunn is an employment litigator. “I think this will benefit both sides,” Kabala said. “There are no conflicts and our [respective] health care practices will add things that each other doesn’t have. “I’d be crazy if I said there were no concerns [about merging with a larger firm]. But this is the direction we needed to go in order for our clients. We wanted to find the right match, and I think we did.”

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