Donald Chesworth (top, from left), Jeffrey Johnstone and Eugene Welch. Karen Sanders (bottom, from left) and Letty Laskowski (Courtesy photos) Donald Chesworth (top, from left), Jeffrey Johnstone and Eugene Welch. Karen Sanders (bottom, from left) and Letty Laskowski (Courtesy photos)

Tully Rinckey, an Albany-based firm that expanded overseas to Dublin this year, has absorbed a small litigation firm in Rochester.

Five attorneys from Rochester-based Harris, Chesworth, Johnstone & Welch, joined Tully Rinckey  earlier this month, more than doubling Tully’s Rochester office. The Harris Chesworth firm, founded about 25 years ago, handled insurance defense litigation, plaintiffs personal injury and business and employment litigation. It also handled some business transactions, as well as trusts and estates matters.

The five attorneys joining Tully include Donald Chesworth, Jeffrey Johnstone and Eugene Welch, all as nonequity partners; Karen Sanders as senior counsel and Letty Laskowski as an associate. An attorney who didn’t make the move, L. Paul Kehoe, a former Appellate Division justice, will have his own mediation and arbitration practice.

Chesworth said the group has represented municipal governments, small companies and insurance providers. The Rochester firm likely had about $1 million in billings a year, Chesworth said, adding he expects that to continue.

At the same time, Chesworth said the group had noticed the demand for legal services had declined in the Rochester area as local companies moved or went out of business. “Many of the major companies are not headquartered here anymore and some of them don’t exist, so the amount of legal work has sort of contracted and the number of lawyers seeking it has expanded,” he said.

“We felt it was better to align ourselves with a bigger firm that has geographic reach,” while the Rochester group’s move would be helpful for Tully Rinckey, he said, noting Tully’s existing Rochester offices didn’t offer some practices the group is adding and had narrower capacity in others areas.

Tully Rinckey first opened a Rochester location in 2013, with attorney Peter Pullano leading the office.

Tully Rinckey, which has about 75 attorneys, is exploring other overseas locations after opening its Dublin office this year. The firm has 10 offices in three states and Washington, D.C., with its largest in Albany. As ALM previously reported, due to the tax reform law, the firm has split itself into two parts that are taxed at different rates: a professional limited liability company that employs all its attorneys and a service corporation that employs the nonlawyers and owns all of the firm’s leases.