When Mark Shipman, his son, and two other lawyers they worked with in Farmington decided to launch a new firm, the first question they asked was, “How fast can we call David Shaiken?”
Shaiken, a creditors rights and bankruptcy lawyer who most recently ran a solo practice in Glastonbury and Storrs, had been mentored by the elder Shipman more than 20 years ago. Shaiken also worked for Shipman’s prior firm from 2003 to 2005. After Shaiken left to join Reid and Riege in 2006, Mark Shipman said he always had it in his mind that they might work together again.
And so Shipman Shaiken & Schwefel opened for business in Farmington on July 1. It will soon relocate to West Hartford, and it will include Shaiken, who has a wide range of experience as a litigator.
“I’m getting older,” said Mark Shipman, who is in his 52nd year practicing law in Connecticut. “I would like to have somebody who is an experienced litigator to pick up some of my work.”
Before starting his own firm in 1992, Shipman spent 30 years as managing partner and chairman of the Litigation Department at Schatz & Schatz, Ribicoff & Kotkin in Hartford.
Most recently, Shipman was with Shipman Stokesbury & Fingold. At that Farmington firm, Shipman’s practice focused on complex corporate and real estate litigation, litigation, administrative law and regulatory matters. He also handled complex land use transactions.
His son, Lawrence Shipman, has built a practice there that included transactional law with an emphasis on commercial real estate. Other practice areas Lawrence Shipman handled included financing; entity formation; general business transactions; residential real estate; land use and zoning. The younger Shipman has lectured and written articles on business formations and the choice of business entities; and on drafting documents to avoid litigation.
Several months ago, the father and son along with partners Robert Randich and Scott Schwefel agreed with the other five partners that they would separate into two entities, with each group forming new firm. The elder Shipman explained that there was a lack of synergy at the Farmington firm that prompted the split. While his group worked on business and employment law matters, the other half of the firm was primarily involved in representing banks.
“The firm had been larger at one point, but what was left was not really synergistic,” he explained.
The other firm, led by William Stokesbury and Ross Fingold, will continue under a new name.
‘Old Is New’
Shaiken said he wasn’t necessarily looking for a firm to join. “But I’ve known all of these people, and the opportunity arose where they were looking for someone with my skill set,” he said. “I wasn’t really putting myself out there, but when this was an opportunity to put together this connection we had.”
Over the past 20-plus years, Shaiken has built his practice as a creditors’ rights and bankruptcy lawyer, mostly as a solo running his own office in Glastonbury and Storrs. But he jumped at the chance to join his former colleagues.
The new, five-lawyer entity will focus on commercial law, bankruptcy and real estate. “This is a case of what’s old is new again,” Shaiken said. He has known Mark and Larry Shipman for his entire career, and his other two new partners for several years.
After he graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1987, Shaiken worked as a law clerk with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Krechevsky. He then worked for Reid and Riege for two years before starting his own firm. “I met Mark Shipman, and he had been with a large firm and started his own practice, so I asked him for some advice and he coached me about starting a firm,” Shaiken recalled.
Mark Shipman had his own recollection. “I’d been at a big firm for a long time, and I left, I was on my own and I kept getting calls from young lawyers asking me about how I did it,” he said. “David was one of them.”