Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has bolstered its New York office by bringing on a pair of lawyers for its intellectual property and corporate securities practices.
Richard DiStefano, a former public company practice partner at Blank Rome, has joined Buchanan Ingersoll’s corporate group. DiStefano’s addition comes on the heels of Buchanan Ingersoll’s hire of Marc Adler, a former assistant general counsel and chief IP counsel at specialty chemical manufacturer Rohm and Haas, who came aboard last week as of counsel.
“I was at Blank Rome [for] almost 20 years and I left a lot of friends and great memories there,” said DiStefano, who for his move worked with Elina Reznikov, a founder and president of New York-based legal recruiter Elite Laterals LLC.
DiStefano cited the opportunity to help Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll expand its corporate and securities group in New York, where earlier this year the firm’s former consumer products co-chairwoman Kristi Davidson left its Big Apple base for New Jersey’s Fleming Ruvoldt. Robert Hawkins, another Buchanan Ingersoll partner who worked out of New York, was part of a team of 17 labor and employment lawyers that left the firm in May for Cozen O’Connor.
“I think there’s a lot of synergies here and my goal is to strengthen even more and continue to add some depth to our practice by doing what I do,” added DiStefano, whose legal career began nearly 35 years ago at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.
After four years at the New York-based Am Law 200 firm, DiStefano moved to Zimet, Haines, Friedman & Kaplan, where he made partner. In 1998, DiStefano joined Tenzer Greenblatt before that New York-based firm was absorbed by Blank Rome in 2000.
Over the course of his career, DiStefano has worked with a variety of clients from Fortune 500 companies to midsize corporations and startups, handling capital markets, corporate finance, M&A and securities work. DiStefano said he’s looking forward to helping his new firm continue its efforts to advise emerging companies and a new generation of entrepreneurs, particularly with the development of Buchanan Labs, a group within the firm that provides legal and business advice to emerging and early-stage companies.
“It’s a very exciting area and the prospects are good,” DiStefano said. “I think that through the firm’s connection to university programs and the various contacts I have [we] can help some of these folks that have these terrific ideas bring it to the next level, so to me that’s a very exciting part of the overall equation.”
Buchanan Ingersoll has strong ties to its hometown—the Steel City has become increasingly known for its higher education and health sciences expertise—and the iconic National Football League franchise the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose Rooney family ownership shares a name with one found on the firm’s shingle.
DiStefano’s addition to Buchanan Ingersoll came a week after the firm bolted on a nearly decade-old IP strategy and consulting firm run by Adler, a longtime associate general counsel and chief IP counsel for Rohm and Haas, a worldwide specialty materials company that was acquired by The Dow Chemical Co. in a $15.5 billion deal that closed in 2009.
Adler left Rohm and Haas in mid-2008, before the takeover by Dow Chemical, and started his own consulting firm. However, as his clients’ needs began to grow, Adler, who specializes in helping businesses deal with competitive and market forces through patent and trade secret management, said he realized he needed a larger team to help him with those changes.
“The nature of the work has changed out there in the world and I know a number of the lawyers at [Buchanan Ingersoll] thought they would be a perfect fit for me,” said Adler, a former chemical engineer. “I think [that feeling] is mutual.”
Adler and DiStefano join a Buchanan Ingersoll team in New York that has made a number of new additions in recent months. In September, the firm brought on Norton Rose Fulbright commercial litigation partner Stephen Riccardulli, a month after Buchanan Ingersoll added eight lawyers in Philadelphia from Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel to rebuild a labor and employment group hit by the defections to Cozen O’Connor earlier this year.