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In another move to add to its head count and practice areas, Buchanan Ingersoll has combined with lobbying firm Hill Solutions to expand its pre-existing government relations practice. The merger, which was in the works for close to a year and a half, will add eight lawyers and staff to the firm’s Philadelphia and Washington offices. “Government relations provides an added service for our clients,” Buchanan Ingersoll CEO Thomas VanKirk said. He said government relations has been a growing area for the firm since it started the practice, with a number of Buchanan Ingersoll clients interested in defense appropriations, homeland security and national defense. Those are areas that Hill Solutions specializes in, and founding partners Jack Thomas Tomarchio and Eric J. Weinberg will serve as co-chairmen of Buchanan Ingersoll’s National Security practice group in addition to their roles in the law firm’s local and federal government relations, VanKirk said. This new addition, combined with several other acquisitions and lateral hires made this year by Buchanan Ingersoll will boost the firm’s flat revenues from the last few years, VanKirk said. “If we were at $153 million last year, this year our revenue will grow by $40 million in gross revenues,” VanKirk said. As much as it is important to grow its headcount, VanKirk said the firm’s biggest focus is in growing revenue per lawyer. VanKirk said the government relations clients will be able to use other services offered by the firm, and at the same time, its 36,000 active clients could benefit from broadening the practice area. “We’ve found that our clients have a real need for this type of counsel, so adding a firm with the reputation and skill-set of Hill Solutions fits in perfectly with our strategic plan,” Howard Scher, head of the firm’s Philadelphia office, said in a statement. “Our clients look to us for government relations solutions to their problems and if we can’t provide that we try to find other resources that can provide it,” Scher said. “So now we don’t have to look elsewhere.” Frank D’Amore of Attorney Career Catalysts said Tomarchio is not only a great lawyer, but an excellent businessman. “It’s a coup for the firm,” he said. “[Hill Solutions] is a company that has gained a lot of visibility from their work and the people on their staff,” D’Amore said. Tomarchio said Hill Solutions was approached by several firms in the area looking to acquire its practice. He said the culture, strategy and client base of Buchanan Ingersoll was the best fit. Tomarchio is confident his firm will bring a lot to Buchanan Ingersoll as well. “My partners and I kind of have a unique expertise in national security because of our military background,” he said. Tomarchio is a former Army prosecutor and defense lawyer, and is currently a colonel in the Army Reserve. Weinberg currently serves in the U.S. Navy Reserve and worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency shortly after Sept. 11. D’Amore said the fact that Tomarchio is a lawyer is an added bonus for Buchanan Ingersoll. He will be aware of what it takes to merge these two companies from a lawyer’s perspective and not just as a lobbyist, he said, which could make for a longer-lasting relationship. Firms have been looking to grow their government relations practice areas, particularly in the realm of national security, since the beginning of the global war on terror, Tomarchio said. “The fact that people want to come to our homeland and do us harm will unfortunately not change overnight,” he said. The Hill Solutions team is not moving into unfamiliar territory. The company, which began in 1998, has offices in Washington, and Wayne, Pa., so many of its existing clients are already in the Philadelphia area. The members of each of those offices will join the respective Buchanan Ingersoll offices in those areas. Scher said it was important to have government relations specialists in its Philadelphia office. The recent situation with the planned closing of Willow Grove Air Force Base was relayed to the firm’s Harrisburg office by its Washington office, and then passed on to Gov. Edward G. Rendell. Scher said if practitioners were in the Philadelphia office that process would have been much shorter. According to Scher, Buchanan Ingersoll does not see a need to have specific offices handle its government relations practice. “The theme that Buchanan Ingersoll is working very hard to achieve is ‘we are one firm,’” Scher said, adding that no office is better than another. Hill Solutions, which offers government relations counsel and business consulting to its clients, will bring to Buchanan Ingersoll clients such as LaSalle University, the Disney Corp., the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Philadelphia Orchestra. It has historically served corporations, professional service firms, early-stage technology companies, universities, performance groups and public/private partnerships. Tomarchio said a conflict of interest check is in place, and he has heard of no conflicts between Buchanan Ingersoll’s clients and his current clients. Although Hill Solutions will now exist under Buchanan Ingersoll’s name, its independent affiliate Homeland Solutions will remain separate from Buchanan Ingersoll, but will maintain a “strategic partnership” with the firm. Homeland Solutions provides management consulting and training to security-related service providers in the intelligence and law enforcement fields. Professionals of the consulting company have TS/SCI national security clearances. Tomarchio will be a shareholder in the Philadelphia office and will focus his national security practice on educational institutions, defense contractors, cultural arts organizations, energy companies and transportation agencies. Prior to his time at Hill Solutions, he served as general counsel for a venture capital firm, and practiced at the Philadelphia office of Saul Ewing before that. Weinberg is a nonlawyer professional who will serve as a director in the Philadelphia office of Buchanan Ingersoll. He previously served on Rendell’s transition team for homeland security matters, and was appointed to the executive staff of the Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General. He has represented nonprofit organizations, multinational corporations, and defense and intelligence community contractors. The four other specialists that will join Buchanan Ingersoll from Hill Solutions include senior consultants Mark Lenker and Rear Adm. Virgil Hill, as well as consultants Patricia Byrnes and Joseph P. Watkins. This year Buchanan Ingersoll has embarked upon a series of acquisitions. The firm kicked off the year by picking up New York’s Slotnick Shapiro & Crocker, a 10-lawyer criminal defense boutique. (As part of Buchanan Ingersoll, it will shift its focus to white collar defense from criminal representations, VanKirk said.) In March, Buchanan Ingersoll took on seven tax and immigration lawyers from Steel Hector & Davis and opened a single-lawyer office in Cleveland that will do banking work. Two months later the firm merged with Alexandria, Va.’s Burns Doane Swecker & Mathis, a 55-lawyer patent boutique. By June 2005 Buchanan Ingersoll reported a head count of 400. Scher said the firm plans to continue this growth across the board including transactional law. “The Philadelphia office is growing rapidly, but the growth is strategic,” he said. “These are areas in which we intended to grow.”

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