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Troutman Sanders has hijacked the 91-lawyer New York office of Dallas-based Jenkens & Gilchrist. In one fell swoop, Troutman has gone from having no New York office to having the second-largest of any Atlanta-based firm, after King & Spalding, which has 176 lawyers there. Alston & Bird is now a distant third, with about 60 lawyers in New York. Troutman has wanted a New York office for some time, said managing partner Robert W. Webb Jr., but didn’t want to go in with a small presence. “It’s important to have a real one,” Webb added. “We made sure that when we opened in New York, we would do so with excellent lawyers, business and critical mass.” The Jenkens lawyers will bring all their clients to Troutman, but Webb declined to name them. The office’s major practice areas are real estate, litigation, finance and tax. Troutman was ranked 97th of the 100 top-grossing U.S. law firms in 2003, the most recent figure available, according to the Am Law 100. The New York office would catapult them up about 30 places on the Am Law ranking to about No. 70, using the 2003 financial numbers. Coincidentally, that’s about where Jenkens & Gilchrist ranked in 2003 — the firm was No. 71 with revenue of $272 million. “When you do the work we do at our level, you need a New York office,” said Webb. A New York office makes the firm more competitive in recruiting both clients and lawyers, he said. The hiring of the 91 New York lawyers also could allow Troutman to leapfrog over Kilpatrick Stockton to the No. 3 spot in the Daily Report Dozen ranking, which tracks the highest-grossing law firms in Atlanta. Webb said combined 2005 revenue for Troutman and the new Manhattan office is projected at $278 million. Troutman’s 2004 revenue was $206.4 million, according to Webb. According to the Daily Report Dozen’s figures for 2003, Kilpatrick Stockton had $213 million in revenue. Troutman had $194 million in revenue that year. With the New York group, the firm now has about 600 lawyers, Webb said — putting it comfortably ahead of Kilpatrick Stockton’s 486 lawyers for the third-largest firm in Atlanta in size, behind Alston & Bird and King & Spalding. Jenkens & Gilchrist’s New York office came into being after the Dallas firm acquired New York firm Parker Chapin at the beginning of 2001. The New York office retained its old identity in the name, calling itself Jenkens & Gilchrist Parker Chapin. “When Jenkens & Gilchrist acquired the Parker Chapin firm in 2001, sincere attempts were made to make this combination work for everyone. However, differences in firm culture and the economic downturn which the market experienced shortly after the merger, coupled with distractions during the last couple years, did not foster an environment conducive to finding a workable solution,” said Thomas H. Cantrill, chairman for Jenkens, in a statement. He was in a board meeting in New York Thursday and could not be reached. Troutman had been negotiating with the Jenkens lawyers since early January, Webb said. He would not say how Troutman became aware that the New Yorkers were looking to make a move, other than to say, “Somebody told somebody who told one of our lawyers who called up there.” But Webb did say that Troutman came late to the game. The New York lawyers already were in negotiations with other firms when Troutman contacted them, he said. Troutman asked to meet with the Jenkens lawyers, and “their first response was, quite frankly, that we were late, we were behind everyone else, and they weren’t convinced we were big enough to pull this off,” Webb said. Webb said his lawyers had been working around the clock on negotiations for the last seven weeks. “We’ve been burning a lot of midnight oil, but it’s been worth it,” he said. Troutman’s partners voted “unanimously and enthusiastically” to approve the deal on Wednesday morning, and the Jenkens lawyers voted their approval that afternoon, Webb said. The deal will be effective April 1. The New York office’s managing partner will be Aurora Cassirer, who has headed the office for the last two years. Cassirer said her group was already well into negotiations with other firms when Troutman contacted her and that she was “really not that excited about it” at first — but the potential synergies between the two grabbed her attention. Troutman’s presence in Hong Kong and London were a major attraction, because the New York group has many international clients. Troutman’s energy, real estate, IP and corporate and securities practices also mesh well with her group’s work, she said. Her group also liked Troutman’s culture, Cassirer said — and was impressed by the firm’s smooth integration of lawyers from its prior merger with Mays & Valentine. She said her group talked to the Mays lawyers and “they were really part of the firm” — a strong selling point. Cassirer said she wants to expand the New York office quickly to between 200 and 250 lawyers. “I think you need to approach that number to be a real player [in New York]. This is a great start,” she said. Webb agreed. “We believe you need to be larger than 90 lawyers in New York to be really effective,” he said. Some Troutman lawyers will move to New York, but which ones and how many is still being sorted out. The firm also is talking to lawyers in New York about joining the firm, he said. “We’re really excited. … It’s a place we needed to be, and we wanted to be there in a big way. I think we are now,” said Webb.

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