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Citing a “significant difference in operating philosophy,” Philadelphia-based Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis is parting ways with Goldstein & Manello, the 50-attorney Boston firm with which it entered a merger in January 2000. The announced departure of the Goldstein lawyers — the firms are expected to split by the end of the year — comes on the heels of the departures of several key attorneys earlier this year from Philadelphia’s Mesirov, Gelman, Jaffe, Cramer & Jamieson — who originally joined Schnader Harrison six months after the Boston merger. The two mergers, which added nearly 100 lawyers to Schnader Harrison and made the firm one of the fastest growing firms in the country in 2000, are both now viewed as disappointments by legal industry observers. When transactional lawyers Richard Jaffe, Robert Krauss and Harvey Shapiro — the three key figures in the Mesirov Gelman merger due to their corporate presence — left for Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll earlier this year, Schnader Harrison management pointed to the Boston firm as a chief source for transactional skill and depth. To emphasize the Boston influence, Schnader Harrison recently named Boston office managing partner Robert Somma managing partner of the entire firm — the first time a non-Philadelphia lawyer had held that post. Neither Somma nor Schnader Harrison Chairman Ralph Wellington made themselves available for comment Friday afternoon, but the firm did issue a press release announcing the split. The release said that Schnader will continue to explore opportunities in the Boston market as well as containing a quote from Wellington. “Schnader’s history of engaging in complex litigation and corporate matters on behalf of prominent clients with a national platform requires geographical breadth, and we intend to maintain the progress we have made in that regard,” Wellington said. “As is well known, Schnader has been one of the top ten firms in terms of growth over the past few years. With the economy sputtering and predictions for a recovery suggesting a slow recovery, we will take this as an opportunity to pause and digest, and proceed in a more deliberate fashion.” The release added that “the separation of Goldstein & Manello will not have an impact on Schnader’s financial picture. G&M’s revenue and profit were self-contained. The Schnader firm is headed for a healthy year in 2002.” The Goldstein & Manello merger helped Schnader Harrison crack the 300-lawyer barrier and expanded its East Coast presence significantly. The Boston site, which was supposed to practice under the name of Schnader Harrison Goldstein & Manello for up to three years, instantly became Schnader’s second-largest office. At the time of the merger, Somma said Schnader’s distinguished history, quality lawyers, matching culture and entrepreneurial vision were the main attractions for Goldstein & Manello. He said the practice groups also meshed. Goldstein & Manello has a small but experienced group of litigators and a large transactional side with an emphasis on bankruptcy, real estate, banking/financial services, domestic relations, employment and securities. A source in the New England legal community, though, said the Boston office had been hit with associate layoffs this year. In addition to the Ballard Spahr departures, Schnader Harrison has lost several partners in Philadelphia during 2001 and 2002. Philadelphia-area legal recruiters say the Boston split will only serve to spread the feeling of uncertainty, as rival firms will most likely heighten attempts to cherry-pick more Schnader Harrison lawyers. “When you have two major acquisitions and they both implode, it has to create some serious uncertainty,” one legal recruiter said. “… It’s a shame because there are a lot of fine lawyers at that firm. They just made some unfortunate business decisions.”

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