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A labor and employment lawyer who joined the firm during its merger with Mesirov Gelman Jaffe Cramer & Jamieson and a veteran real estate finance lawyer are the latest partners to leave Philadelphia-based Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. Kenneth Gilberg will take his labor and employment practice to Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll after spending a little more than two years with Schnader Harrison following the Mesirov Gelman merger. He will be the first labor and employment partner to join Buchanan’s Philadelphia office since all 10 of its lawyers from that practice area left last year to start a local office for San Francisco-based Littler Mendelson. And he is the fifth Schnader Harrison labor and employment partner to depart the firm since this past summer. Andrew Gowa, a 12-year Schnader Harrison veteran, will be opening his own real estate and corporate boutique with his wife, Robin Lincoln, a counsel who has been with the firm for 25 years. Gowa Lincoln will specialize in real estate, lending and general commercial matters for small and medium-sized businesses, regional banks and professional groups. Both will depart by the end of the month. Gowa said his departure has more to do with his desire to open up his own boutique with his wife than any of the problems at Schnader Harrison over the past year and a half. Both Gowa and Lincoln come from families where their parents worked together in closely held businesses, and it is a mutual desire to work in an entrepreneurial setting together that was the primary motivation for the move. “Robin and I have had this dream for quite some time, and it just recently gelled into a reality,” Gowa said. “We have five kids and we could never find the right time to do it. But now our youngest is 15 years old, and when they reach that age they don’t really care where you are or what you’re doing. “Schnader is a great firm even though its had its share of problems over the last couple years. But that really didn’t have any affect on my decision. There were clearly a lot of talented corporate people who left. But most of those folks are in the venture capital world and with the economy the way it is now, you don’t need a lot of those people. So [the losses] have not had as big of an impact as one might think. I really think the firm is sorting through two mergers that didn’t quite work and is on the upswing.” This is not Gowa’s first departure from the big firm world. A 1974 University of Pennsylvania Law School graduate, he started his career at Philadelphia-based Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley as a litigator but eventually became a real estate lawyer as he elevated to partner status. He left in 1983 to join a real estate investment company before starting his own real estate development company in West Chester two years later. But when the economy tanked in the late 1980s, so did Gowa’s business. So in 1990, he interviewed at his wife’s firm, Schnader Harrison. He told the firm’s chairman at the time, Arthur Kahn, that he would most likely be leaving within seven to 10 years. “I’m the kind of person who becomes stale when I’ve been somewhere for a long period of time,” Gowa said. “So I think the fact that I’ve been at the firm for almost 13 years says a lot about what I thought of Schnader.” Schnader Harrison chairman Ralph Wellington said Gowa and Lincoln have expressed their interest in opening a boutique for a while, and he expects the firm to have a good reciprocal relationship with them by helping their clients and referring them matters that Schnader cannot handle for whatever reason. Gowa’s practice includes leasing; acquisition and disposition of major properties, financing, land development, zoning and land use. He has been involved in waterfront real estate acquisition for potential riverboat gambling; in developing multi-screen theaters and retail centers; and in representing property owners in leasing, selling to and developing parcels with major national retailers such as Kmart, Pathmark, Toys ‘R’ Us, Frank’s Nurseries and Staples. Gowa and Lincoln, who works part time, practice together. Gilberg would not offer much information about his move to Buchanan Ingersoll or his career history during an interview last week. He did say that Buchanan Ingersoll presented him with a tremendous opportunity to develop a labor and employment practice in Philadelphia. Sources in the legal community say that Buchanan Ingersoll has been looking for labor and employment lawyers ever since it lost 10 lawyers in Philadelphia and nine in Pittsburgh last year to Littler Mendelson, the nation’s largest labor and employment boutique. Buchanan Philadelphia office co-managing partner Steve Braverman declined to comment on Gilberg’s pending arrival, saying it is firm policy not to comment while a lawyer is still working at another firm. A 1976 Widener law school graduate, Gilberg started his career at Peckner Dorfman Wolffe Runick & Cabot and spent some time working for former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn’s law firm before joining Mesirov Gelman. He has practiced with colleagues Allan Dabrow and Gina Amici off and on since their Peckner Dorfman days. He has represented management in union contract disputes as well as in defeating union organizing drives at many area car dealerships as well as at the Susanna Foo restaurant. Dabrow and Amici are now the lone labor and employment partners in Schnader Harrison’s Philadelphia office. Partners Mike Tierce, Frank Sabatino, Gary Tocci and Kimberly Kaplan left the firm this summer. Gilberg’s departure also leaves Schnader Harrison with 15 partners of the original 27 that came over from Mesirov Gelman in June 2000. Sources familiar with the firm said that management was not happy to lose Mesirov Gelman business-getters such as Richard Jaffe, Robert Krauss, Harvey Shapiro and Robert Tueter. Schnader Harrison, though, has lost several partners who were with the firm before the Mesirov Gelman merger. And most recently, Schnader Harrison announced that its entire 50-attorney Boston office, which it acquired during a January 2000 merger with a firm called Goldstein & Manello, would be breaking off from the firm. According to the firm’s Web site, Schnader Harrison’s Philadelphia office now has 73 partners, with 35 of them being litigators. The office also has nine real estate partners, seven intellectual property partners, six corporate partners, four family law partners and three tax partners.

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