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CHICAGO — DLA Piper has for the first time appointed vice chairs for some Chicago practice groups, seeking to aid those who chair large practice groups and provide additional leadership opportunities for lawyers in the office. The law firm, which has its biggest U.S. office in Chicago where there are 270 attorneys, appointed Tina Martini as vice chairwoman of the intellectual property group, Michael O’Neil as vice chairman of the litigation and arbitration group and Rich Klawiter as vice chairman of the real estate group, according to a memo sent to the firm’s lawyers this week. The move is designed to “reduce the burden” on leaders of large groups; beef up administration, planning, integration and marketing resources for the groups; and open up more leadership posts for people in the office, the memo said. Unlike some law firms, DLA Piper has office practice group leaders as well as national or broader geographic leadership roles that guide the firm’s work. For instance, Jay Epstien chairs the firm’s U.S. real estate practice group while Louis Cohen oversees the group in Chicago. The vice chair positions are part of the firm’s ongoing efforts to help DLA Piper lawyers worldwide feel connected at a local level while working at the world’s largest law firm, said William Rudnick, the firm’s managing partner in Chicago. “When you have 3,800 lawyers, you have to do things that make the firm feel small,” Rudnick said.

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