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Blank Rome has been in New York since a January 2000 merger with 80-attorney Tenzer Greenblatt. But that firm was best known for its middle-market client base in practice areas such as litigation, matrimonial law, real estate and bankruptcy. While it had a corporate securities presence, Blank Rome officials wanted to greatly expand in that area to capitalize on its presence in the international finance capital. Blank Rome management announced Friday that it had completed that piece of the puzzle, with all nine lawyers from corporate securities boutique Shack Siegel Katz & Flaherty joining its New York office, effective July 1. The seeds of the union emanate back 30 years, when Blank Rome New York partner Michael Mullman practiced with Shack Siegel name partner Jeffrey Siegel. The two have remained friends over the years and Mullman first approached Siegel roughly two years ago about becoming part of Blank Rome. Siegel said he declined the offer because the firm’s partners wanted to maintain their independence. But when approached with a similar officer a little more than a year later, Siegel said he decided to enter negotiations. Siegel said it had become increasingly difficult to manage the firm’s corporate clientele from a boutique setting. “We think that going forward, it makes sense for our client if we move to a bigger platform,” Siegel said. “We were just giving away a lot of business, particularly on the litigation side of things. And we wanted a firm with a corporate culture, which Blank Rome has.” After nearly six months of negotiations, the two sides reached a deal in which all seven partners and two associates would bring their corporate securities practice to Blank Rome. The two most senior partners, Donald Shack and Charles F. Crames, will enter Blank Rome with of counsel status. “They have a really nice corporate practice,” Blank Rome managing partner Fred Blume said. “Even though it’s a small firm, they represent really high-grade public companies. But they don’t do litigation, labor and employment, or IP work and a lot of other things that we offer. But at the same time, their clients require it. In addition, these are really bright guys who are just different than the typical small firm.” Shack Siegel’s practice focuses on business law, emphasizing corporate transactional representation as well as counseling in areas of financings, securities transactions, mergers and acquisitions, executive employment and general commercial matters for both publicly owned and privately held clients. The firm was formed in 1993 by a group of attorneys who had been working together for more than 15 years at two other New York firms. Siegel declined to discuss the identities of specific clients. In addition to the aforementioned two of counsel, the five lawyers joining Blank Rome as partners are Siegel, Pamela Flaherty, Ronald Katz, Paul Lucido and Jeffrey Stone. Kathleen Cunningham and Samuel Silvers will join as associates. All of the partners emphasize to varying degrees securities, financings, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate and commercial law except for Stone, whose practice focuses on real estate transactions and financing. Blank Rome’s New York office has grown slowly since the Tenzer Greenblatt acquisition.The office started with roughly 80 lawyers and now has a little more than 90 lawyers. With the Shack Siegel addition, the office now has more than 100 lawyers. Blume admitted that while he believes the Tenzer Greenblatt deal has worked exceptionally well, Blank Rome has been seeking to add a larger corporate component to its New York site. He said the firm now wants to enhance litigation, corporate and real estate in New York, and add an intellectual property capability there. With more than 230 attorneys located in its Philadelphia home base, Blank Rome has been emphasizing growth in New York and Washington — where the firm now has more than 75 lawyers — with a long-term plan to enter the Chicago and California legal markets. The Tenzer Greenblatt merger was the first major step in that strategic plan. Since that time, the firm has shifted its focus to Washington, where in 2003 it merged with 42-attorney Dyer Ellis & Joseph and later started a lobbying subsidiary called Blank Rome Government Relations. The lobbying business is headed by firm chairman David Girard-diCarlo, who relocated to Washington from Philadelphia. Then just last week the firm announced that Republican-leaning Blank Rome Government Relations had acquired Democrat-heavy Peyser Associates.

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