Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has absorbed an immigration firm in Florida and brought on a name partner from family law boutique Buckner, Shifrin, Etter, Dugan, Bradfute & Kohlman to help lead its family law practice.
In absorbing immigration firm Weiss, Alden & Polo, Buchanan Ingersoll expands its capabilities in Miami to include immigration with three lawyers—the two name partners who are still active, Christine Alden and Gina Polo, and associate Stephania Bertoni. The firm’s other name partner, founder Michael Weiss, has been retired for several years.
Former Buckner Shifrin name partner Robert Kohlman will co-chair Buchanan Ingersoll’s matrimonial and family law practice group. Buchanan Ingersoll said that Kohlman’s trial and appellate experience—which includes more than 125 trials—will help strengthen the firm’s commercial litigation, appellate, and arbitration capabilities in Miami.
Kohlman said the move gives him the resources of a national law firm and the ability to expand his practice beyond South Florida. “The addition of Robert provides us with a top-notch matrimonial and family attorney in Miami,” Buchanan CEO and managing director, Joseph Dougherty, said in a statement. “Robert’s immense skills and client base nicely complement our existing New York and New Jersey matrimonial practices. Many of our matrimonial and family law clients have homes and businesses in both locations, so we’ll be better able to serve them on both fronts.”
The four new hires bring Buchanan Ingersoll’s lawyer head count in Miami to 15.
“Growing in Miami and South Florida are key strategic priorities,” Dougherty said.
Polo said she and Alden were approached by Buchanan Ingersoll partner Sheila Oretsky a few months ago. She said they decided they could provide more to their existing clients with Buchanan’s deeper bench and larger national presence.
Immigration policy changes over the last year have vastly increased the number and complexity of applications for immigration and work visas and therefore the amount of legal work in that practice area, the lawyers said.
Buchanan Ingersoll has immigration lawyers at other offices but did not have any in Miami.
Executive orders relating to immigration have effected not only humanitarian immigration such as asylum but also business immigration. Multinational companies looking to bring in executives, investors, permanent residents or individuals with exceptional abilities seek out the help of law firms with strong immigration practices. The increase in applications has created immigration system delays that clients often don’t understand and need help navigating, Polo said.
“We felt that Buchanan really valued the services of immigration counsel and that it opened a lot of doors from a business perspective,” Polo said. “Immigration shouldn’t be just an afterthought. It is an important part of a lot of business decisions, and it’s very much involved in job creation and investment in our community.”