McCarter & English has spent the past five years aggressively expanding its reach along the eastern seaboard, following a growth plan spearheaded by firm Chairman Andrew T. Berry and managing partner Lois M. Van Deusen from its central office in Newark, N.J.

Now the firm is expanding in a different manner. With Van Deusen retiring after 29 years at the firm, management reins for the first time are being handed to a non-Newark attorney. Partner Eric Watt Wiechmann, in the firm’s Hartford, Conn., office, recently was named deputy managing partner. He is scheduled to replace Van Deusen on Oct. 1.