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Labor and employment boutique Fisher & Phillips has gained a key outpost right outside of New York — its first in the Northeast. The firm will merge with 14-lawyer Jacob & Mills, based in Somerset, N.J., effective July 1. “This puts us in the significant New York area with some really outstanding people. We’ve been waiting for quite a long time to find the right group of people who would put us there in the right way. To get 14 lawyers at this level is very exciting,” said Roger K. Quillen, Fisher & Phillip’s managing partner. Quillen, who became the firm’s managing partner six years ago, said he’s been looking for a New York-area office for five years. The office will give Fisher & Phillips a competitive edge as the firm continues to expand, Quillen said. “There’s no question that there’s a perception in the New York area that if you don’t have a New York office, you’re not a serious player,” he said. His firm always has serviced clients in the Northeast, he said, but a New York-area office anchors them in the region. Jacob & Mills’ location in mid-New Jersey gives Fisher & Phillips an office that’s in the New York area but with a rate structure more like that of Atlanta’s, said Quillen. “We can service New York-based companies without having to charge clients Manhattan rates.” Jacob & Mills, established in 1987 by Cynthia M. Jacob, brings Fortune 500 clients to Fisher & Phillips — many headquartered in New York — including AT&T, Aetna, Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, Owens Corning, Dun & Bradstreet, L’Oreal and Zeus Industrial Products. The merger gives the firm 15 offices and nearly 200 lawyers across the country. Its other offices are clustered in Florida, the Carolinas, the Midwest and on the West Coast. Quillen estimated that the new office will push the firm’s revenue to $85 million in 2006, up from a projected $76 million this year. REASONS TO MERGE The acquired firm’s two principals, Jacob and Christopher H. Mills, said they decided to give up their independent status and merge with a national labor and employment boutique in response to changes that are transforming the labor and employment legal market nationwide. “Many of our clients these days want representation in more than one state,” Jacob said. She and Mills decided that their firm needed national coverage to better serve their clients. The two said they’d considered quite a few large firms as merger partners over the past few years and decided that Fisher & Phillips was the best fit because it had similar values and the same consultative — instead of prescriptive — approach to clients’ problems. That Fisher & Phillips had no other offices in the Northeast was a plus, the two said. That gives them the chance to come in on the ground level and help shape the firm’s expansion in the region, Jacob said. “We started this firm and enjoyed starting it, so now [we can participate in] a larger version of the same thing,” she said. Quillen said the continuing consolidation of the legal market means a boom time for his firm and other national labor and employment boutiques. “The movement to consolidate legal services by corporate general counsel is putting a lot of pressure on one-city boutiques,” he said, adding that most are considering whether to join corporate general practice firms or national labor and employment boutiques. “There’s been a tremendous shakeout in our niche. All the labor and employment firms are really moving to another level,” he said. THIRD NEW OFFICE IN 2005 The Jacob & Mills merger is Fisher & Phillips’ third new office this year, following a Tampa office in January and a Kansas City, Mo., outpost in March — and the firm plans to open a Texas office in the next couple of months, Quillen said. “We’re going to take advantage of this window in time when firms like ours are able to attract the greatest legal talent in the field. There’s never been a time like it in our field,” he said. Jacob and Mills are both longtime practitioners in the New York metro area. Jacob started her career as a public defender, then practiced employment law on the plaintiffs’ side before making the switch to representing management almost 20 years ago. She is a former president of the New Jersey State Bar Association, only the second woman to serve in that post. Mills has been a labor lawyer “since forever,” he said. He started his career in 1972 as an appellate lawyer for the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and was in-house for AT&T for 12 years, rising to chief labor counsel for the company’s corporate headquarters, before joining Jacob’s practice in 1989. “Cynthia was my favorite outside counsel while I was at AT&T,” he explained. The firm brings two other partners, Alan G. Lesnewich and Rosemary S. Gousman, to Fisher & Phillips. Joining as of counsel are Patricia S. Robinson, David E. Strand, Kathleen McLeod Caminiti and David H. Ganz. Associates joining the firm are Sandra N. Fears, Lori Schiraldi Delia, Colleen P. Tandy, Scott E. Ross, Edward P. Abbott and David J. Treibman.

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