Michael Tanenbaum.
Michael Tanenbaum. (Carmen Natale)

Tanenbaum Keale, formed five months ago when a group of Newark-based Sedgwick lawyers spun off into their own litigation firm, has done some growing since then, with four single laterals from various firms—including, of course, Sedgwick.

Tanenbaum Keale most recently brought on Robert Gilmartin Jr., previously counsel at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter in Morristown, who handles asbestos, construction and pharmaceutical litigation. He joined May 30.

Also joining the firm, in March and April, were three associates: Marina McGuire, from Sedgwick, who handles pharmaceutical and medical device litigation; Pamela Kaplan, from Porzio, Bromberg & Newman of Morristown, who handles asbestos, environmental and toxic tort litigation; and Arshia Hourizadeh, from Mischel & Horn in New York.

All retain their counsel and associate ranks in the move, said Tanenbaum Keale managing partner Michael Tanenbaum in an interview.

Gilmartin had been at Sedgwick previously; as had McGuire, who was on leave when Tanenbaum Keale broke off last January. Kaplan and Hourizadeh are not Sedgwick alums, but had connections to lawyers at Tanenbaum Keale, Tanenbaum said.

That’s the growth formula at present: The firm is taking an apparently risk-conscious approach, by targeting people with personal ties to the firm, and staying within its litigation wheelhouse, according to Tanenbaum.

“We are looking only at people we know,” Tanenbaum said, noting that the firm isn’t using headhunters. The firm is “not interested” in unknown laterals “because it could be disruptive of [what] we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to build.”

“We don’t want to grow into a full-service firm now, or probably ever,” he added.

With low risk comes limited reward, at least in terms of rainmaking: The four recent laterals came without clients in tow, but Tanenbaum Keale has won new work since opening, and there’s enough to sustain its lawyers, according to Tanenbaum.

As for recruiting, firm leadership has engaged targets, and been engaged by those interested in joining, he said, though he noted that splashy additions of partner groups are “more than we want to do right now.”

In the cases of Gilmartin, McGuire, Kaplan and Hourizadeh, “‘handpicked’ seems a little over the top, but they were identified and we reached out to them,” Tanenbaum said.

In addition to its 20 attorneys, the firm has about 20 staff, including 15 paraprofessionals. Aside from its main office in One Newark Center, Tanenbaum Keale has satellites in lower Manhattan and Malvern, Pennsylvania.

Before the spinoff, Tanenbaum spent seven years as firmwide managing partner of San Francisco-based Sedgwick, which has about 250 lawyers.

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