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Exactly one month after five practitioners left Saul Ewing for Buchanan Ingersoll’s litigation section, two more attorneys have departed Saul Ewing for the Pittsburgh-based firm. William A. DeStefano and Terri A. Pawelski on Tuesday joined Buchanan Ingersoll’s Philadelphia office, where DeStefano, a shareholder, now leads the growing white-collar group. DeStefano and Pawelski, an associate, followed the trail of former Saul Ewing attorneys John J. Barrett Jr., Rudolph Garcia, Edward J. Kelbon Jr., Paul C. Madden and James O’Toole, who made the move on Oct. 1 as shareholders. An associate also joined the firm. It was rumored around the time of the first move that DeStefano would be part of the defection from Saul Ewing, but he said some things changed before that could happen. “Saul Ewing asked me to give them some time to talk me out of it,” DeStefano said. He said that once word was on the street, several other firms made offers that he wanted to first evaluate, eventually deciding on the first option of Buchanan Ingersoll. “White-collar criminal defense work has been identified as a growth area, a hot area,” DeStefano said. “There’s somewhat of a recruiting thing going on now,” Howard Scher, managing partner of Buchanan Ingersoll’s Philadelphia office, said part of the firm’s strategic plan is to build up its white-collar defense practice in Philadelphia particularly. “We have opportunities in this area where we are referring out to skilled lawyers,” Scher said. He added that with the addition of DeStefano and his group, he will no longer have to do that. “Bill DeStefano is independently one of the top white-collar defense lawyers in the city of Philadelphia,” Scher said. DeStefano said that it was Buchanan Ingersoll’s commitment to building its white-collar group as well as the five familiar faces from Saul Ewing that caused him to ultimately choose that firm. “They have a rather deep list of corporations that they represent,” DeStefano said, adding that those companies may find themselves in need of white-collar defense representation. DeStefano, along with Pawelski, represented investment banker Denis Carlson in the City Hall corruption trials, achieving the only not-guilty verdict, according to a statement. In an unrelated case, the two also represented PNC Investment’s Delaware stockbroker Tom Guido in March on forgery, document tampering and securities fraud charges, receiving 36 not-guilty verdicts on all charges. DeStefano will focus his practice on other types of commercial litigation as well, Scher said. He said DeStefano will bring over clients in both white-collar and commercial litigation. According to Sandra Mannix of Abelson Legal Search, DeStefano has a nice book of business.”He certainly has that reputation of a rainmaker,” she said. Saul Ewing managing partner Steve Aichele admitted that his firm may have to make a few changes, but said the loss of these attorneys will not affect the firm’s ability to be effective in litigation and white-collar defense. “We’re going to obviously have to do more with Jim Becker,” Aichele said of the firm’s co-chairman of its white-collar and government enforcement practice group. “Bill was one of the players,” he said. “We always hate to lose lawyers.” Aichele said that, clearly, white-collar is an area that is in “flux” right now, but he said his firm is always looking to grow. “We’re already in conversations with an additional white-collar attorney,” Aichele said. DeStefano was a member of Saul Ewing’s white-collar criminal defense practice group and the chairman of both the antitrust and trade regulation practice group and the contingent fee committee. Buchanan Ingersoll has been on a hiring binge this year. In June, 55 attorneys from Virginia-based IP boutique Burns Doane Swecker & Mathis joined the firm. That acquisition followed a team of IP and business litigators who joined in San Diego, while a group of three government-relations professionals was added in Washington. Additionally, a group of seven tax and immigration lawyers in Miami joined the firm in the spring. The firm kicked off the year with the acquisition of litigation boutique Slotnick Shapiro & Crocker in New York. In October, the firm joined with lobbying group Hill Solutions to expand its government-relations practice in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., office. Scher said the firm has turned its attention in Philadelphia to adding partners from transactional practices while also finding a replacement for real estate partner Dan Simcox, who left the firm recently to take an in-house position at Aramark.

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