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When it announced the acquisition of a three-partner, white-collar and class action litigation group from Drinker Biddle & Reath on March 14, Morgan Lewis & Bockius management said the newcomers were brought in to pad the firm’s book of business and not work for its existing clientele. So the firm knew it had to get its latest arrivals some support in the way of associates. That came last week with the addition of 11 litigation associates from Drinker Biddle. The associates had worked with group leader Mike Holston and partners Lisa Chanow Dykstra and John Schultz. Seven of the new associates will be handling class action work while the other four will be assigned to white-collar matters. The associates making the move to Morgan Lewis include Noreen Alvarado, Adina Bingham, Angie Halim, Kristofor Henning, Bridget Lankford, Barry McCoy, Daniel McGuire, Robert Particelli, Amy Pizzutillo, Jonathan Sturz and Megan Traversari. James Pagliaro, leader of Morgan Lewis’ global litigation practice, said Holston waited until he and Dykstra and Schultz were elected partners at the firm before soliciting the services of their team of associates from Drinker Biddle. “Our folks here in Philadelphia are all being utilized so we didn’t have any extra capacity to give them,” Pagliaro said. “So it was either hiring associates from outside or bringing in their people.” Holston handles both white-collar and class action matters. Dykstra works with him on white-collar and criminal investigations, and Schultz works with him in handling commercial class action litigation, as well as numerous ERISA matters. Pagliaro said the document-heavy class action work requires more associate leverage than white-collar cases. So most of the new associates will be assigned to the class action side. Holston, Dykstra and the four associates join Jack Dodds, head of Morgan Lewis’ corporate investigations and criminal defense practice, partner Nathan Andrisani, two associates and several lawyers who spend part of their time handling criminal work in the Philadelphia office. Holston brings with him the representations of the city of Philadelphia and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell in the City Hall federal corruption probe, and the chief doctor involved in the gene therapy study at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania that allegedly resulted in the death of an 18-year-old man. But seven associates will be assigned to class action matters. Pagliaro said Morgan Lewis has a multidisciplinary class action practice that includes lawyers in areas such as securities, labor, employee benefits and products liability. In Philadelphia alone, the firm boasts 18 lawyers who handle such work. Upon his arrival Schultz was named as co-chairman of the practice group along with employment litigator Gordon Cooney. Holston had said a major motivation in making the move was the broad geographical platform Morgan Lewis offered in the class action arena. In particular, he cited the firm’s growing Northern California presence. That will come in handy with Bay Area-based Hewlett Packard, one of his major class action clients. Pagliaro said Morgan Lewis had not previously done work for HP and was excited about the possibilities. Incoming Drinker Biddle Chairman Alfred Putnam said the departure of the associates was not a surprise, being that most of them had worked almost exclusively on Holston’s cases. He said the firm does not have much experience in losing practice groups, but when it has — such as a few years back when Pamela Schneider led a three-partner trusts and estates group to start its own firm in King of Prussia, Pa. — associates usually follow. He added that was the case last month when the firm brought in intellectual property partner Kathryn Doyle from Morgan Lewis and Evelyn McConathy from Dilworth Paxson. Putnam estimated that Drinker Biddle had 115 associates in Philadelphia.

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