Tom Morante courtesy of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck. Courtesy photo

A leader in Holland & Knight’s insurance practice is leaving the firm for a smaller shop, joining the Fort Lauderdale office of midsize firm Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck.

Thomas Morante, who was co-chair of Holland & Knight’s insurance industry practice, is now a partner at Kaufman Dolowich and chair of its new insurance regulatory and transactional practice. Morante will be responsible for building the practice from the ground up, he said.

“Big Law is a wonderful platform but also one that imposes limitations on the practice because there are issues with billing rates and conflicts of interest,” Morante said. “I began to rethink what the best platform is for me.”

Kaufman’s national reach, with 11 offices across the U.S., coupled with the agility and flexibility that a firm of fewer than 200 attorneys offers, made the firm a perfect fit, he said. Morante’s practice involves representing insurers and financial institutions in federal, state and foreign regulatory matters and transactions. Morante’s practice also has an international aspect, as he advises clients on the development of offshore insurance products in Bermuda.

In addition to leading Kaufman’s new practice, Morante will also take a lead role in developing the firm’s Washington, D.C., presence, which he sees as the “natural extension for the firm,” he said. Morante has various connections to the Washington market through his involvement in insurance trade groups and having previously worked at firms with offices there. He also got his J.D. and LL.M. from schools in the area—at American University and Georgetown University respectively—and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at American.

Joining Morante at Kaufman is Yani Contreras, a consultant in the insurance regulatory and transactional group who worked with Morante at Holland & Knight. Contreras is also a licensed attorney in Mexico.

Regarding Morante’s move, Holland & Knight Managing Partner Steven Sonberg said in a statement: “Tom has been a valued partner for many years and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”