Five lawyers, including the former head of litigation at Berger Singerman, have formed a new litigation firm in Miami.
The firm, Mark Migdal & Hayden, will be led by former Berger Singerman partner and head of litigation Etan Mark, as well as by Don Hayden, who also joins from Berger Singerman, and Josh Migdal, who joins from Stolzenberg Gelles Flynn & Arango. Prior to working at Berger Singerman, Hayden worked at Baker McKenzie in Miami and Chicago for 28 years, and as office managing partner in Miami for some of that time.
Mark, who left Berger Singerman in May, said client expectations clients have changed dramatically over the last few years and it’s critical that law firms adapt to those changing expectations. The clients expect from lawyers a deeper, more intertwined and specialized understanding of their business, alternative fee arrangements, and use of technology, to create efficiencies in time and money, he said.
“It’s very difficult for the more established law firms to adapt to changes in the legal profession,” Mark said. “It’s hard to be that nimble and flexible because many of the changes that clients are demanding now demand organizational change.”
He said the firm’s goal is to realign the practice of law with client expectations. Currently, the firm is playing a role in a $1 billion class action lawsuit against Herbalife and 44 of its top distributors. Other clients include the FDIC in its capacity as receiver for financial institutions throughout Florida, and companies in real estate development, manufacturing, banking and financial services.
Mark, who was at Berger Singerman for a little over nine years, said the firm will focus on litigation and dispute resolution, including arbitration and complex commercial litigation, and has no intention of expanding beyond that to transactional work. He said the specialization has strategic advantages.
Mark’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including real estate disputes, civil RICO and allegations of fraud.
Migdal’s practice also focuses on complex commercial litigation, and he has done a lot of work with disputes surrounding business breakups as well as mortgage fraud work—mostly representing the FDIC, Mark said. He has also dealt with insurance coverage and real estate disputes, business torts, professional negligence, and repurchase and indemnity claims.
Hayden focuses on commercial litigation, international arbitration and cross-border disputes. Hayden has represented AT&T, Knauf Plasterboard, Borg Warner, Banco de Brasil, Travelers Insurance, Google and SAP.
In addition to the name partners, the firm brings on two other partners: Lara O’Donnell Grillo is former of counsel at Berger Singerman, and has experience in complex appeals and complex commercial litigation. George Breur, who like Migdal joins from Stolzenberg Gelles, is experienced in construction litigation, insurance disputes and corporate breakups.
Mark said the firm expects to hire more attorneys and administrative team members in the next six months.