In the latest sign of consolidation among upstate New York regional law firms, Buffalo-based Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman has scooped up an Albany firm with seven attorneys.
The attorneys from Ganz Wolkenbreit & Siegfeld, who had all joined by the end of February, focus on business transactions, commercial litigation, real estate and trusts and estates. The Ganz firm represented small and midsized businesses, including those in the food and beverage industries, commercial real estate, and manufacturing and distribution, said founding partner Robert Ganz, declining to name any specific clients or the size of the small firm’s book of business.
The lawyers joining Lippes include Ganz, now senior counsel at Lippes, as well as partners David Siegfeld, Conor Brownell and Beth Carey; of counsel lawyers Jed Wolkenbreit and Stanley Segal; and associate Garrison Ramsdell.
Kevin Cross, the managing partner of 86-attorney Lippes, described the expansion as a group hire rather than a merger. He said it was Lippes’ second largest expansion in recent years, after the firm first entered the Albany market in 2015 by absorbing a 10-attorney labor firm, Sheehan Greene Golderman & Jacques.
Ganz said his prior firm, which he founded, had been in business for about 30 years, but he had come to believe “the future of small law firms doing sophisticated work was problematic.” He said client matters “didn’t stay within the defined boxes” of the experience of the seven lawyers, as they sometimes fell outside their expertise, including in immigration or international law. Succession planning was also a factor in the move, Ganz said.
One selling point for joining Lippes, Ganz and Cross said, is that the seven lawyers did not have to change their billing rates. Partner rates for the group range from $250 to $375 an hour, they said.
Other Northeast regional firms, including Barclay Damon and Bond, Schoeneck & King, have continued to grow with mergers and acquisitions in recent years. Cross said the Lippes firm is also continuing to look for additions to round out the firm’s practices, including in tax and health care.