Lowenstein Sandler, New Jersey’s most profitable law firm, has opened a branch in Washington, an expansion made possible by moving three existing partners and hiring four insurance lawyers from Dickstein Shapiro.

The seven-lawyer office will occupy about 15,000 square feet – “room to grow,” chairman Gary Wingens said Friday—at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave. The expansion marks the second major New Jersey-founded firm to foray into the District this year, and the play continues a trend of outside firms grabbing lawyers and business here.

“We kind of need to be where the regulators are,” Wingens said. “That’s core to D.C. and makes it different than any other market in the world.”

The five partners in the office are:

  • Jeffrey Blumenfeld, who joined Lowenstein about a year ago from Washington-based Crowell & Moring. While he had commuted to work from New York since then, “his heart and soul and career was in D.C.,” Wingens said. Blumenfeld chairs the firm’s antitrust group and will handle administrative duties for the Washington office.
  • Matthew Magidson, an investment management partner who moves from New York.
  • Miguel Pozo, a commercial litigation partner who relocates from Lowenstein’s New Jersey office. He has worked extensively in Washington for the past year, however, while serving as president of the National Hispanic Bar Association.
  • Andrew Reidy and Catherine Serafin, policyholder-side insurance litigation partners, move from Dickstein Shapiro. They had worked alongside Lowenstein lawyers on cases “for years,” Wingens said.

Counsel Joseph Saka and an associate also move from Dickstein to Lowenstein. Another Dickstein insurance partner, Michael McGaughey, will join Lowenstein in Los Angeles.

Wingens has led the firm since 2008 and in that time grown its offices in New York and Palo Alto and added a venture capital outpost in Brooklyn. The 260-lawyer firm boasts the largest law office in New Jersey, with about 182 lawyers at a Roseland location.

In 2013, Lowenstein told The American Lawyer it by grew 3.5 percent to $222.5 million in gross revenue. That was aided by a spike in transactional work, especially in the life-sciences sector and for initial public offerings, according to the New Jersey Law Journal.

On expanding in Washington, “I think it’s a platform that a lot of lawyers in the D.C. market would want to plug into,” Wingens said. “Our name is a really good secret and our practice is a really good secret. Once we get the story out there, it’s a good story.”

Next, Wingens will focus on building the Washington group around regulatory work. That will include recruiting federal government attorneys with experience at agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, he said.

McCarter & English, New Jersey’s largest home-grown firm by headcount, also opened a Washington office this year. In February, it acquired 14-lawyer Miller, Balis & O’Neil, a boutique energy-law firm. McCarter saw Washington as key for litigation work and as a growth area for practices like real estate, said the office managing partner John Gregg. Since the combination, McCarter has added one D.C. lawyer, an intellectual property associate, Gregg said Friday.

Lowenstein’s group from Dickstein marks yet another wave of departures for the Washington-based firm, which has struggled with headcount and revenue declines for more than a year. Last month, Greenberg Traurig announced it had acquired a 13-lawyer-and-lobbyist government relations group from Dickstein, including practice head Andrew Zausner. This most recent lateral departure to Lowenstein does not include Kirk Pasich, Dickstein Shapiro’s insurance group head and the practice team’s biggest rainmaker.

Contact reporter Katelyn Polantz at kpolantz@alm.com. On Twitter: @kpolantz. Reporter David Gialanella of New Jersey Law Journal contributed to this report.