Polsinelli doubled the number of partners in its Boston office this week with two lateral recruits.
The fast-growing Am Law 100 firm, which set up shop in the city two years ago after absorbing the bulk of intellectual property boutique Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg, has brought on longtime Ropes & Gray counsel Daniel Adams and former Locke Lord partner James Coffey as partners for its corporate and transactional group.
Adams, who joins Polsinelli as vice chair of its sports industry group, said the impetus for his move to the firm was the opportunity to build out its budding sports law practice, as well as his new firm’s office in Boston. The outpost is somewhat ironically based at One International Place, an office tower where Ropes & Gray used to be based until the firm left for new commercial space in 2010.
Adams first joined Ropes & Gray in 2004, working on various private equity matters. But over time, he began working with Dennis Coleman, the Boston-based chair of the firm’s sports law group and a partner who has worked with clients such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons.
“After a while … I started to focus 100 percent on sports,” said Adams, who recently represented a private equity client in connection with a $4 billion bid to buy the Ultimate Fighting Championship, an enterprise that was ultimately sold for that price in 2016 to William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC and a group of private equity investors.
And as that deal progressed, Adams said it required a different platform than what was available at Ropes & Gray.
“So I started to keep my eyes open for a different platform and looked to see what kind of clients other law firms had,” said Adams, adding that he soon happened upon Polsinelli, which already had in place its own sports law group.
Adams began talking with Kevin Sweeney, chair of Polsinelli’s life science practice group, who has counseled collegiate conferences and amateur sports organizations for nearly three decades. Adams has advised his own collection of sports industry clients, which include professional teams, leagues and broadcast entities in negotiating licensing, partnerships, joint ventures, broadcast and multimedia rights deals, among other matters.
“It honestly fit perfect with how my client base was developing and felt like this was a better platform if I wanted to continue to do it for the next 25 years, which I plan to do,” said Adams, who while a first-year associate at Ropes & Gray more than a decade ago battled and beat a rare bone marrow disorder. ”It was a life-changer, but I certainly didn’t let it define me.”
On the heels of Adams’ addition to Posinelli’s Boston office, located at the intersection between the city’s historic Financial District and its new budding Seaport Innovation District, his new firm also announced its addition of Coffey, an M&A expert.
Coffey began his legal career at Nutter McClennen & Fish, where he was a partner in the Boston-based firm’s business department. In 2013, Coffey jumped to Carter & English, where he spent two years before making another move to White and Williams. In early 2017, Coffey once again dipped into the lateral market, landing at Locke Lord.
“[Coffey] is one of the top corporate and transactional attorneys in the Boston area, and is well-known for his superior M&A work,” said a statement from Polsinelli’s corporate chair Jonathan Henderson. “He brings nearly three decades of experience to our team, which will greatly benefit our clients in achieving their M&A-related strategic business goals.”
Polsinelli, which last week also welcomed a team of lawyers leaving Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas ahead of that firm’s merger with Foley & Lardner, its addition of Coffey and Adams are the latest laterals in a flurry of Big Law activity in Boston.
Hogan Lovells, Kirkland & Ellis, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Womble Bond Dickinson have all opened their own respective offices in the city as part of an effort to capitalize on Boston’s booming industries and professional talent pool.
Just last month, Hunton & Williams—now known as Hunton Andrews Kurth following a recent merger with Andrews Kurth Kenyon—opened an office in Boston following its 14-lawyer raid on litigation boutique Manion Gaynor & Manning.