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Philadelphia-based Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis has experienced a new wave of significant departures, losing labor and employment partners Allan Dabrow and Gina Ameci, tax and estates partner Barry Frank and business services department chairman Edward Schiff. Schnader Harrison officials confirmed that Dabrow and Ameci would be moving to Buchanan Ingersoll, which colleague Kenneth Gilberg joined late last year. Frank joined Pelino & Lentz on Feb. 1, and Schiff is leaving Schnader to open the Washington, D.C., branch office of a California firm. Dabrow did not respond to inquiries, but Schnader Harrison chairman Ralph Wellington issued a press release concerning Dabrow and Ameci. “This is a career transition that we have expected for quite a while now, and it is with the mutual consent of all concerned,” Wellington said. “Nick Price, a longtime Schnader labor and employment partner, will chair the practice working with Elise Fialkowski, another partner in our Philadelphia office. Nick will be able to work together with the substantial labor and employment expertise we have throughout all of our offices. In Philadelphia, we will look to selectively add individuals to this practice as the year progresses.” Schnader Harrison previously lost its other labor and employment co-chairman, Michael Tierce, along with fellow longtime partner Frank Sabatino, last summer to Stevens & Lee. Gary Tocci, another respected labor and employment partner, left later in the summer for Reed Smith. Tierce and Tocci took four other attorneys with them. Schnader Harrison’s Philadelphia presence in labor and employment law is now reduced to partners Price and Fialkowski, though the firm also has three partners from its litigation department who engage in employment litigation matters. Both Dabrow and Frank were key partners who joined Schnader Harrison during the July 2000 merger with Mesirov Gelman Jaffe Cramer & Jamieson. That merger has proved troublesome for Schnader Harrison, as four of the top Mesirov Gelman partners had previously left the firm — public finance partner Robert Tuteur left for Blank Rome in 2001, and Mesirov Gelman chairman Richard Jaffe, business department co-chairman Robert Krauss and tax partner Harvey Shapiro left for Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll in 2002. Dabrow and Ameci, along with Gilberg, give Buchanan Ingersoll a labor and employment presence in Philadelphia after it lost its entire 10-attorney group to Littler Mendelson in 2001. Buchanan Ingersoll Philadelphia co-managing partner Steve Braverman declined to comment, saying firm policy dictates that management does not discuss lateral hires before they actually arrive at the firm. Dabrow, Ameci and Gilberg have practiced together since their days at Peckner Dorfman Wolffe Runick & Cabot two decades ago. Dabrow was co-chairman of the labor and employment practice group for Schnader Harrison and was considered one of the top lawyers the firm acquired from Mesirov Gelman. Dabrow, a 1972 University of Louisville Law School graduate, handles both traditional labor matters and employment litigation. As a former attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor and former human resources manager for Harrah’s Hotel & Casino, Ameci counsels and trains CEOs, human resources directors, general counsel and front-line managers to avoid unfavorable litigation. She also helps employers remain union free or, if organized, establish beneficial union-management relationships. As for Frank, he joined Pelino & Lentz on Feb. 1. Frank was one of the Mesirov Gelman partners who negotiated the Schnader Harrison merger. Frank was a member of Mesirov Gelman’s executive and allocation committees and served as the firm’s finance partner. His tax practice is best described as business counseling for corporate clients. He has spent a good deal of time representing companies in matters where the Internal Revenue Service questioned whether certain people were independent contractors or actual employees. Frank did not have a bad word for Schnader Harrison, saying that his practice was entrepreneurial in nature and therefore best suited for a midsize firm like Pelino & Lentz. He said he surveyed several firms before settling on the 35-attorney Pelino, which has an even split of litigators and transactional lawyers. He said he was intrigued by the fact that Pelino had many attorneys who had made similar moves from large firms that turned out to be fruitful for their practices. Frank, a 1963 Temple University Law School graduate, spent three years with the IRS, eight years with an accounting firm and a year in the business world before joining Peckner Dorfman. He spent 12 years there before joining Mesirov in 1987. Gilberg’s departure also leaves Schnader Harrison with 12 partners of the original 27 who went over from Mesirov Gelman in June 2000. Though it has lost several Mesirov transactional lawyers during the past two years, Schnader Harrison still has partners such as corporate lawyers Marc Cornblatt, Arthur Brandolph, Walter Ferst and Albert Dandridge, and real estate lawyers Kenneth Rosenberg and Bernard Kolodner. Schiff did not respond to an inquiry, but a source familiar with the situation said he had departed to start a Washington, D.C., branch office for 300-attorney California firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. In addition to serving as chairman of the business services department, Schiff is a member of Schnader Harrison’s executive committee and played a role in managing the Washington, D.C., office. Schnader made an internal announcement on Feb. 10 about its governance, as longtime litigation partner David Smith has been selected to fill the newly created position of chief executive officer, according to sources familiar with the situation. Wellington will remain firm chairman.

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