When the bulk of Scott Miller’s midsize New York firm was acquired in 2014 by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, Miller said he was “lukewarm” about the deal, partly because he was entering a much larger firm with headquarters outside New York.
Miller, whose clients include large construction managers, property owners and crane companies, said he also had philosophical differences with the Philadelphia-based firm on how to manage a practice. “I’m a very hands-on” lawyer who wants stay involved in cases, he said.
This month, Miller and seven other attorneys at 500-attorney Marshall Dennehey jumped to 135-attorney Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, based in Long Island.
He said he left Marshall Dennehey on good terms, but at Kaufman Dolowich, “I feel like I’m much more a part of the structure and leadership” and he’s more comfortable working at a New York-based firm.
The eight-member team includes five partners: Miller, James Freire, Steven Kaplan, Michael Manarel and William Pirk. The group also includes three associates, Seth Frankel, Yousra Depalma and Marc Lynde.
All are based in Manhattan, except Pirk, who is in the firm’s Long Island office in Woodbury.
Miller is now chairman of Kaufman Dolowich’s 14-attorney construction accident practice group, which represents building and property owners, general contractors, subcontractors and others in construction site accident matters.
Miller’s clients includeTishman Construction Corp., Bay Crane, Extell Development, ESI Design and Hudson Meridian Construction Group.
The group hire at Kaufman Dolowich, known for its insurance defense work, is its latest expansion this year. In 2017, Kaufman Dolowich acquired 15-lawyer boutique Baugh Dalton in Chicago and hired attorneys in its Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton offices.
Ivan Dolowich, co-managing partner at Kaufman Dolowich, said the firm’s growth is being fueled by several factors, including increased construction activity in Manhattan, mergers among the firm’s insurance clients and insurance companies reducing the number of law firms on their outside counsel panels.
“It’s going to be harder for smaller firms to maintain their status” on panels, unless they have a specialty niche, he said. “Our firm is very fortunate that we’re on a lot of panels.”
While insurers have been consolidating their panels for several years, it’s only accelerated in the last couple of years, Dolowich said.
Roughly 65 percent of the firm’s business comes from the insurance industry and the rest from traditional matters such as construction, commercial litigation and labor and employment, Dolowich said.
The firm moved its Manhattan office to 40 Exchange Place on June 1 to double its office space. The firm initially had about 17 attorneys in Manhattan, and with new hires from Marshall Dennehey, the firm said it has grown by 40 percent in the city.
The firm has also seen some lateral departures in New York this year, including Jeffery Meyer, who became a Nixon Peabody partner, and J. Robert MacAneney, now a shareholder at Carlton Fields Jorden Burt.