(Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

Blank Rome has beefed up its tax, benefits and private client practice in Philadelphia with three partners from Pepper Hamilton, the firm announced Wednesday. The moves follow a spate of recent departures from Pepper Hamilton, and they extend a string of hires this year at Blank Rome.

Jonathan Clark

Jonathan Clark is now chairman of Blank Rome’s employee benefits and executive compensation group within that practice. Andrew Rudolph and Michael Kadlec also joined as partners. Clark had been co-chairman of the employee benefits practice at Pepper Hamilton.

“What I would really like to do here is grow the practice. It’s not simply the addition of three more partners,” Clark said.

Andy Rudolph

Clark wants to build the practice by adding associates, he said, which he did at Pepper Hamilton. The employee benefits practice there once had as many as 18 lawyers under his leadership, Clark said.

Clark, Rudolph and Kadlec work with large public companies and large private businesses, as well as some nonprofit organizations, dealing with any issues related to employee benefits and executive compensation on an organizational or individual level. That includes welfare benefits, fringe benefits, retirement plans and compensation overall.

Michael Kadlec

Clark said he was drawn to Blank Rome, which approached his team, because it allowed the opportunity to move as a group of three. He said he was interested in the size of the firm’s New York and Washington, D.C., offices, as well as the growth plans for its corporate securities and labor and employment groups.

The new team will be helpful to the labor and employment, corporate securities, private equity and finance practices, chairman Alan Hoffman said.

“We need to bring this type of expertise to our corporate clients,” he said. “You’re going to see a lot of regulatory change that really is going to impact benefits work.”

Hoffman noted that despite recent growth at Blank Rome, the firm has made relatively few additions in the Philadelphia office until now.

“There’s a lot of talent in our marketplace in Philadelphia that will be able to serve our clients throughout the country,” he said.

Last week Blank Rome added James Barnes, also from Pepper Hamilton, to the Pittsburgh office, as co-chair of the family office practice and partner of strategic development for Pittsburgh. Also last week, the firm brought on partner Brendan Delany, previously special counsel at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, to the finance, restructuring and bankruptcy group in Washington, D.C. In January, Blank Rome added two partners from Norton Rose Fulbright to the energy practice in Pittsburgh.

In addition to losing Barnes and Clark and his team this month, Pepper Hamilton saw a group of four lawyers, led by Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez, who focus on sexual misconduct investigations and response, depart for Cozen O’Connor this week. Last month, the firm lost IP lawyer Paul Legaard to Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young. And in December, life sciences partners Jeffrey Libson and Geoffrey Starr left Pepper Hamilton for Cooley LLP.

In a statement, Pepper Hamilton’s spokesman said the firm wishes Clark, Rudolph and Kadlec well, and values their contributions to the firm.

Contact Lizzy McLellan at lmclellan@alm.com. On Twitter: @LizzyMcLellTLI

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