U.S. Capitol. Credit: Mike Scarcella/ NLJ

Fisher & Phillips is expanding in the Washington legal market, adding six attorneys here as the Atlanta-based firm moves to grow practice teams to compete with other large management-side firms.

Fisher Phillips, acquiring the boutique Farrington Law Firm, will now have 14 lawyers in Washington. Partners Daniel Farrington, Margaret Jacobsen Scheele and Sarah Biran, as well as one of counsel and two associates, joined Fisher Phillips on Jan. 1, the firm said. Farrington will be co-regional managing partner with Theresa Connolly, who joined Fisher Phillips in June from Constangy Brooks, Smith & Prophete.

The firm’s new hires, which doubled the Washington office, is part of a larger strategy that was put in motion several years ago to build a bigger presence in Washington and in New York, where Fisher Phillips has six partners and an associate.

Roger Quillen

“We are one of the larger firms that specializes in labor and employment, but we were the firm that lacked presence in two key cities. That’s why we made the decision,” Roger Quillen, the firm’s chairman and managing partner, said in an interview.

Competitors of Fisher Phillips—including Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart—have established presences in the nation’s capital. Morgan Lewis boasts of 51 labor and employment attorneys here, and Ogletree counts 34. Quillen said Fisher Phillips wants to expand to at least 20 lawyers in both Washington and New York.

Washington plays an important role in the labor and employment sector because much of labor and employment practice is driven by regulations, Quillen said.

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“The nerve center is there in Washington, D.C., and the regulatory process is working its way out to the rest of the country,” he said. “It’s where big agency decisions are being considered and made. In order to do everything we can do, we feel we need critical mass in that city.”

He added, “With every change in the White House and with every change in one or both branches of Congress, there is a whole new upheaval that occurs.”

Quillen said client demands are continuing to grow in the labor and employment space. He said D.C. plays an important role in the labor and employment sector because much of the practice is driven by regulations.

Farrington said Fisher Phillips reached out when it began working on ways to build a presence in Washington. He said he’d been in discussions for two years.

Farrington focuses on discrimination, wage and hour law violations, accommodations for disabled employees and noncompete agreements. He said joining Fisher Phillips will allow him a greater national platform for his work.

He predicted disability claims and compliance issues in that area would be growing areas for the practice. Connolly said wage and hour would remain a focus, as well as trade litigation.

Connolly and Farrington both had experience at major law firms. Farrington worked at O’Melveny & Myers, then later as an employment attorney at the U.S. Senate. Connolly worked at DLA Piper.

In addition to the three partners, Sherron Thomas McClain joins Fisher Phillips as of counsel, and Lauren Goetzl and Maxim Doroshenko join as associates.


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