Michael McAuliffe, a current judicial candidate and former top prosecutor for Palm Beach County, and commercial and media law litigator L. Martin Reeder Jr., whose clients include the cable giant CNN, have joined business litigation and trial law firm Atherton Law Group, prompting a firm name change.
Atherton Law Group, formed in 2012 by husband-and-wife team Scott Atherton and Lauren Atherton, is now Atherton McAuliffe & Reeder. The nine-lawyer firm has expanded its office space but will remain in Palm Beach County, said founding partner Scott Atherton.
Reeder has appeared as co-counsel with Atherton in large securities cases in the past. McAuliffe worked with Atherton in the past but not as formal co-counsel, Atherton said. The firm announced the hires last week, after McAuliffe and Reeder joined the firm earlier this year.
McAuliffe, a former assistant U.S. attorney who was elected Palm Beach County state attorney in 2008, is currently running for the Group 13 judicial seat held by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David French, who is not seeking reelection. McAuliffe left the state attorney’s office in 2012 to become general counsel for West Palm Beach-based Oxbow Carbon, where he worked until last year. He focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, compliance issues, class actions, health care and other fraud matters, including white collar and corporate investigations.
“Some of the work we expect him to participate in is assisting our financial services clients with complex fraud and investigation matters,” Atherton said.
Atherton said McAuliffe’s prosecutorial experience will serve clients in the firm’s existing health care practice in the areas of affirmative fraud and fraud investigations.
Reeder represents a number of media clients, including CNN and CNN network host Anderson Cooper in a defamation lawsuit related to a news segment about the mortality rate of babies treated by a pediatric doctor, Dr. Michael Black. Black alleges the segment exaggerated the mortality rate and exposed him unfairly to malpractice lawsuits.
Reeder has 37 years experience as a trial and appellate lawyer on matters ranging from complex commercial and shareholder litigation and breach of contract claims to media and First Amendment cases, defamation claims, intellectual property litigation, fraud and related business torts, and a variety of real estate disputes. Reeder was a litigation partner at Steel Hector & Davis, a litigation shareholder at Greenberg Traurig and founded Reeder & Reeder with his wife, Denise Gordon Reeder in 2002.
Atherton said McAuliffe and Reeder together add substantially to the firm’s practice mix, and they offer “incredible experience and perspective to our client base.”
“The three of us have been friends for quite some time. In addition to doing work for clients, I think we’re going to have a lot of fun together,” he said.
Atherton serves on the Federal Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel and will help look for a replacement for U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Hopkins, who is retiring from the bench in West Palm Beach in March.