Martin Fantozzi

Goulston & Storrs has added five commercial litigators from New York-based boutique Miller & Wrubel as the Boston-based Am Law 200 firm looks to build out its litigation bench in the Big Apple.

The deal effectively spells the end of Miller & Wrubel, which was formed back in 1975 and over the years went by several different names, eventually settling on its current iteration in the early 1980s.

Firm co-founder Joel Miller and Martin Edel, Charles Jacob III, Adam Safer and Nicholas Cutaia have all joined as partners in Goulston & Storrs’ New York office, which is based in the Lipstick Building. David Wrubel served as senior counsel at Miller & Wrubel until leaving the firm in 2011. (Leo Ullman, a former Sullivan & Cromwell lawyer-turned-real estate investor, was also once a name partner at a Miller & Wrubel predecessor.)

Miller & Wrubel has represented law firms, financial institutions, mortgage servicers, hedge funds and other asset managers in complex commercial litigation matters. The firm successfully represented Dechert in a series of suits following the dissolution of Coudert Brothers. Dechert, along with Baker McKenzie and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, purchased a portion of Coudert Brothers’ assets ahead of the global firm’s bankruptcy in 2006.

It was this prowess in dealing with matters for other law firms that made Miller & Wrubel an attractive addition for Goulston & Storrs, which is currently representing Dechert in a legal malpractice claim, said Martin Fantozzi, co-managing director of Goulston & Storrs.

“Their particular practice maps well across our existing practice. They have a lot of strengths in areas where we have strengths,” said Fantozzi, who noted that his firm turned to New York legal recruiter Russel Jacobson to help broker the combination with Miller & Wrubel.

Discussions about a possible tie-up began last fall after Goulston & Storrs learned of Miller & Wrubel’s interest in potentially transitioning to a larger firm, which also mirrored Goulston & Storrs’ desire to grow its litigation practice in New York, Fantozzi said.  

“This was the right time to bring that dimension into the office,” added Fantozzi, who has been co-leading Goulston & Storrs since 2009.

Edel, a Miller & Wrubel partner and former associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, said in a statement that his firm had been waiting for the right time to grow.

“Over the years, we have declined multiple invitations to join our sophisticated practice with larger firms because we have been waiting for the right fit,” Edel said. “We’ve found that fit in Goulston & Storrs, where we will continue to provide high-quality litigation to our clients.”

The acquisition of the Miller & Wrubel team is just the latest addition by Goulston & Storrs. In February, the roughly 180-lawyer firm hired Pepper Hamilton partner Gene Barton for its corporate practice in Boston.

Fantozzi said that his firm doesn’t have any future plans to expand beyond its offices in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., but Goulston & Storrs does anticipate bringing on several other lawyers in those offices, particularly in the nation’s capital.

Goulston & Storrs’ absorption of Miller & Wrubel comes amid a particularly busy time for law firm combinations. Three deals were finalized this week involving at least one Am Law 100 firm and the first quarter of 2018 saw the pace of tie-ups remain robust. In a report issued Wednesday, legal consultancy Altman Weil Inc. said that 30 deals were completed within the first three months of this year.