Labaton Sucharow has hired four new lawyers in its securities litigation practice, adding one in its New York office and three others who will beef up the firm’s recently launched Washington, D.C., outpost.

Mark Willis.

Courtesy photo

In a statement released Thursday, the plaintiffs litigation firm announced that Mark Willis is joining as partner in Washington, while the three other new hires are taking of counsel roles at Labaton.

Willis comes to Labaton from the firm Spector Roseman Kodroff & Willis, as do two of the new Labaton of counsels—Mark Bogen and James McGovern. All three will be based in Washington, where Labaton opened an office last month. Another new of counsel, David Schwartz, joins Labaton in New York from rival securities class action firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann.

Labaton described the four new securities litigator hires as a way to “both deepen Labaton Sucharow’s bench of outstanding litigators in New York and also fortify the firm’s foothold in its newly opened Washington, D.C., office.”

Willis has spent nearly three decades in securities fraud litigation, focusing on representing pension funds, investment managers and other institutional investors, Labaton said. At his new firm, Willis will focus on both domestic and international securities cases, overseeing Labaton’s global actions practice. In the past, Willis led a securities litigation against Converium Holdings AG, in which he guided a Greek client to a $145 million trans-Atlantic settlement in both New York federal court and in a court in Amsterdam.

Bogen and McGovern, also joining from Spector Roseman, have similar experience representing institutional investors in securities actions. Schwartz, who most recently served as a senior associate at Bernstein Litowitz, focuses on “event-driven and special situation litigation, using legal strategies to enhance clients’ investment returns,” Labaton said.

The additions to the securities practice follow two other recent group hires announced by Labaton. In November, the firm said it added three lawyers to its securities, corporate governance and shareholder rights litigation groups, including partner Michael Canty, a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn.

Then in May, the firm beefed up its whistleblower practice, which is led by former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission assistant director Jordan Thomas. It added three lawyers who have past experience in federal government roles. Those hires included former federal prosecutor Steven Durham and a pair of former SEC enforcement officials—Timothy Warren and Robert Wilson. With those lawyers, Labaton opened its office in Washington, where Durham and Wilson reside, and also opened an office in Chicago, where Warren is based.

“The firm continually looks for opportunities to move strategically and respond to current and, what we believe to be, long-term industry trends,” Christopher Keller, a Labaton securities litigation partner in New York, said in an email on Friday, referring to the firm’s recent growth. “The addition of these experienced lawyers well positions us to accomplish these goals.”

The bolstering of Labaton’s securities litigation ranks comes after a banner year for high-dollar settlements in securities class actions, according to data released earlier this month by Securities Class Action Services, a division of Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. That ISS report showed that 13 securities class action settlements finalized in 2016 jumped onto a top 100 list for largest securities settlements of all time. Plaintiffs firms involved in those settlements took in nearly $1 billion in fees as a result, according to an analysis by The American Lawyer.