(NLJ/Diego M. Radzinschi)
Blank Rome has absorbed the remaining 107 lawyers at Dickstein Shapiro, including 13 in New York.
Dickstein, a prominent Washington, D.C.-based firm founded in 1953, said Friday that it was no longer engaged in the practice of law.
James Carroll, of Carroll Services LLC, the chief liquidation officer for Dickstein, said he would be “assisting with the wind-down of the company.” He said there was no timetable, and declined to comment on firm assets or liabilities.
Blank Rome chairman Alan Hoffman said in an interview that the acquisition includes all 94 Dickstein lawyers in Washington and the 13 New York. Each office will have about 150 lawyers.
Blank Rome said it now has more than 620 attorneys across 14 offices. It gains a government contracts team, led by David Nadler, and an insurance coverage team, led by James Murray. Dickstein Shapiro chairman James Kelly will serve as the head of Blank Rome’s Washington office.
The attorneys joining Blank Rome also practice intellectual property, corporate and finance, real estate law, and handle complex litigation and dispute resolution.
Hoffman said the majority of Dickstein staff will join Blank Rome.
The deal, which has been rumored to be in the works for weeks, nearly triples Blank Rome’s Washington presence and finds a home for remaining attorneys at Dickstein Shapiro, which has suffered significant defections over the past year. Several years ago, Dickstein had more than 450 lawyers.
Blank Rome said it will move its Washington attorneys to Dickstein’s office there, while Dickstein’s New York attorneys will join the Blank Rome office in the Chrysler Building.
The head of the New York office at Dickstein, Deborah Skakel, told the Law Journal Friday that “we’re all very thrilled to be here and look forward to working with our new colleagues.”
“Our clients are coming over with us,” she said.
As for Dickstein, Hoffman speculated that “there may be a wind down” but he said he does not know how it would be structured.
Skakel declined to comment on how the Dickstein business entity would proceed. Kelly did not return a message for comment left at his Blank Rome number.
Hoffman declined to discuss the terms of the acquisition but said the firm is not taking on bank debt.
He said the group acquisition is not a merger, as Blank Rome is not acquiring all of Dickstein’s assets or assuming all of its liabilities.
The deal is similar to Morgan Lewis Bockius’ addition of most of Bingham McCutchen partners.
Hoffman said the talks started on Dec. 24 when the firm’s chief operating officer, Patrick Cavanaugh, called Kelly at Dickstein, after hearing the firm’s merger talks with Bryan Cave had ended.
Hoffman said Blank Rome was attracted to expanding in Washington and “knew that Dickstein had an outstanding reputation.” In particular, he said it was reassuring that most of Dickstein partners in Washington had been with that firm an average of 20 years.
“That means there was a core group of partners who wanted to continue practicing law together and were committed to staying with the firm,” he said.
Blank Rome was aware of Dickstein’s partner defections over the years but “the group that is joining us is very profitable,” Hoffman said. He added that Blank Rome did much due diligence and “became very confident that revenue numbers were there.”
Blank Rome, which placed 96th on the Am Law 100 in 2015 with $331 million in revenue, may move up to No. 65 by adding $100 million or more in revenue, Hoffman said.
In a statement provided to the media, Hoffman said, “It is amazing to think that just 15 years ago, Blank Rome was primarily a Philadelphia law firm.”
He added, “This is the latest in a robust series of targeted lateral hires, acquisitions, and combinations that our firm has successfully completed in recent years.”