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Martin Sobol has done almost everything a labor lawyer can do — work for the National Labor Relations Board, work for a large firm, a midsize firm and a small firm. But there is one thing he never tried in his 29-year legal career: opening his own boutique. And at 54 years old, he felt it was time for him to make the move. So along with longtime friend and colleague Howard Trubman, he has left Philadelphia’s Dilworth Paxson to start Sobol & Trubman, a labor boutique specializing in representing management in traditional NLRB-related matters. “If I didn’t do it now I knew that I’d never do it,” Sobol said. “And with the size of my practice and my financial situation, I’m in a position to do it.” In addition to the departures of Sobol and Trubman, the firm will also be losing partner Virginia Flick, who will be going in-house at Temple University as associate university counsel in charge of all labor and employment matters for the university and the health system. Sobol, co-chairman of Dilworth’s labor group at the time of his departure, envisions a seven-to-10 lawyer management labor boutique that will be able to compete with labor departments at full-service firms because referrals will be easier to come by. “A firm won’t have any trepidation that we’re trying to steal their business, so they will feel comfortable giving us referrals,” Sobol said. “I think that’s a big advantage.” Because of the economic climate, reasonably priced office space was in abundance, and Sobol settled on a space within a month at 1760 Market St., which has expansion options to handle any personnel additions that might occur in the coming years. Sobol was a partner in Dilworth’s labor and employment group since joining the firm in 1998 after Sherr Joffe & Zuckerman split and all but five lawyers joined Cozen O’Connor. The remaining lawyers went to Dilworth. Trubman joined the firm a little more than a year ago as of counsel, but the two labor lawyers had known each other since their days at the NLRB in the early 1970s. A 1973 graduate of Duquesne Law School, Sobol spent almost four years as a field attorney with the NLRB before joining Peckner Dorfman Wolffe Runick & Cabot, where he stayed for the better part of a decade. Sobol spent 11 years at Fox Rothschild O’Brien & Frankel before joining Sherr Joffe in 1997. Trubman took a similar but not identical path. A 1974 Temple University Law School graduate, he joined the NLRB, before spending some time in-house and eventually at Peckner Dorfman. He was a solo practitioner for roughly 15 years before Sobol called him and asked if he wanted to work with him at Dilworth. For a lawyer who has made a career of representing management in labor matters, Sobol’s most recognizable client might come from a case where he represented a plaintiff, stock analyst Marvin Rothman. The 1993 case revolved around Rothman being fired from Janney Montgomery Scott after offering a negative opinion about the future of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Rothman sued for wrongful termination, and Sobol argued his case successfully in court. Flick, a Dilworth lawyer since graduating Villanova University School of Law in 1987, specializes in employment litigation and counseling. She said that she loved working at Dilworth but wanted a lifestyle change so she applied for the Temple opening. She starts at Temple on Oct. 14. “I thought I’d retire at Dilworth because I love it so much here,” Flick said. “I’ll get to do the same work I’ve being doing at Dilworth, just less of it. There will be fewer nights and weekends. I just wanted more predictable hours.” Dilworth chairman Joseph Jacovini said the firm’s labor and employment practice will not be visibly affected by the three departures. Sobol’s practice was self-contained and the firm has other employment litigators that can fill Flick’s shoes, he said. Long-time labor and employment chairman Robert Stewart will still be at the helm, and the firm also has partners Marjorie Obod and Richard Jubanyik as well as several non-partners in the department. He said the department does not plan on replacing Sobol. “We’ve got people here who can handle labor needs,” Jacovini said. “But we’re always looking for quality people so if we can bring someone in, we will.”

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