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What’s in a name? Right now a lot of confusion for Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz & Damashek, the firm that pulled in $98.4 million for its work on New York State’s tobacco case and aligned with the Johnnie Cochran juggernaut in 1999. Despite the protestations of two name partners that Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz & Damashek is the correct firm name, it is listed as Schneider Kleinick Weitz in the 2003 edition of Martindale-Hubbell, the fountainhead of information on firm names and the status of lawyers practicing with them. And that is only the start. The Cochran firm lists its New York affiliate in Martindale as The Cochran Firm — Weitz, Kleinick & Weitz, a firm whose three name partners are the sons of two named partners of the Schneider Kleinick firm. But a visit to the Web site of the sons’ firm reveals that it lists itself as “Of Counsel to The Cochran Firm — Schneider Kleinick & Weitz.” Television channel surfers are likely to be further confused when they see advertisements aired in the metropolitan area identifying the Cochran firm’s New York branch as “The Cochran Firm — Schneider Kleinick Weitz.” To sort through this name maze, perhaps a scorecard would be helpful. The parent firm �- literally — is Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz & Damashek. Two of the name partners, Ivan S. Schneider and Harvey Weitz, between them have more than 100 verdicts in excess of $1 million. A third name partner, Philip S. Damashek, is a political powerhouse who is widely credited with winning the firm the contract to work on the state’s tobacco case. The fourth name partner, Arnold L. Kleinick, is a skilled negotiator. Two of Weitz’s sons, Paul and Andrew, and Kleinick’s son, Keith, worked for many years at the parent firm, but last year formed their own firm, Weitz, Kleinick & Weitz, which has six full-time lawyers and relations with 10 of counsel. Both firms operate out of a set of offices on the fifth floor of the Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway. Damashek’s son, Jonathan, also worked for many years at the parent firm, but has recently teamed up with three other lawyers in Hecht, Kleeger, Pintel & Damashek on the ninth floor of the Woolworth Building. All three firms do plaintiffs’ personal injury work and have relations to handle personal injury cases with the Cochran firm, which maintains one full-time lawyer and support staff at the fifth-floor office. So what is the name of the parent firm? In the 2003 Martindale, it is listed as “Schneider Kleinick Weitz.” In the Appellate Division, First Department’s most recent ruling last month in the tobacco case, the firm was identified in court papers as Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz & Damashek. Has Damashek left the parent firm? Decidedly not. The Martindale listing is “absolutely wrong,” Damashek said. “I intend to find out how this happened, who paid for it and how it came out to be so wrong.” With respect to TV advertisement and the Web site of his sons’ firm, the elder Weitz said the current identification of the New York affiliate of the Cochran firm as “The Cochran Firm — Schneider Kleinick Weitz” is in error and is being corrected. The New York volume of the 2003 Martindale listing the Cochran firm’s New York affiliate as “The Cochran Firm — Weitz, Kleinick & Weitz” correctly identifies the sons’ firm as being the New York link with the Cochran firm, the elder Weitz said. Both the TV advertisement and the sons’ firm Web site are being changed to reflect that as the Cochran firm’s current arrangement in New York, he said. A FIRM IN FLUX Unquestionably the name confusion stems from the parent firm’s decision in late 2001 to drastically reconfigure itself. As reported a year ago, the parent firm, which counted 31 lawyers at the time of its affiliation with the Cochran firm in 1999, was down to its four name partners. “The confusion stems from the fact that the future, present and past are all colliding with one another. They all know where they have been and where they are going but they haven’t gotten there yet,” explained Keith Givens, who as managing partner of the national Cochran firm handles relations with regional offices. At the time of the 2001 downsizing, the parent firm shed an enormous number of cases, sending many of them to the two firms that were then home to the sons of the elder Weitz, Kleinick and Damashek. A large number of cases were also sent to Gregory J. Cannata’s firm, who had been a Schneider Kleinick partner before its downsizing. Sources said it is likely that Schneider, who has no children, will continue to try cases with Cannata’s three-lawyer firm should the parent firm completely close. Should that happen, the triggering event would be the expiration of the firm’s lease in 2005, they said. Schneider said he would not prematurely “cross any bridges,” and he held out the possibility that the parent firm would find new space when the present lease expires. But Schneider confirmed that he has an exceptionally close relationship with Cannata and has regarded him “as almost a son” for the past 20 years. Meanwhile, Weitz said he and Kleinick expect to continue to practice as counsel to their sons’ firm should the parent firm go out of business in 2005. The elder Damashek, who is the managing partner of the parent firm, said he has not decided what he will do should the firm close. One possibility would be involvement in public service, he said, noting, “I would like to give back something to a community that has been very good to me.” In the meantime, from the national Cochran firm’s perspective, Givens said, “While the names may change, we will be practicing in the same place, with the same people, handing the same cases.” In fact, he pointed out that the younger Damashek and his partners have been negotiating to join Cannata’s firm and the Kleinick/Weitz sons’ firm, which are already on the fifth floor of the Woolworth building. Since 1995, the parent firm has rented the entire fifth floor to house its operations

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