Standing, left to right: Matthew Bauer, Kelly Krug, Justin Vogel, Laura Breitenbach, Bryan Couch, Joseph Megariotis. Seated, left to right: Patrick During, Catherine Bryan, Jeffrey O’Hara, Matthew Schultz, Perri Koll.

Christopher Porrino

Nathanya Simon

Tanenbaum Keale opens in Seattle

Janine Cerra and Lauren Fraser

R. Stephen Stigall

Ajay Raju, executive chairman and CEO of Dilworth Paxson. 2015. HANDOUT.

Richard Badolato of Connell Foley in Roseland, NJ.

Connell Foley recently made a splash when it hired 11 LeClairRyan litigators to its Newark branch, but the firm isn’t the only one recruiting. It’s been an eventful time in New Jersey for law firms adding lateral hires, opening new offices, hiring prominent former public officials, and otherwise pushing to maintain an upward trajectory in a competitive legal market. Activity came from well-established firms, as well as those still building their brands. Here’s a look at some of the most notable moves.

Christopher Porrino, the last attorney general to serve in the administration of Gov. Chris Christie, knew he was going to be looking for a job come 2018, when Gov. Phil Murphy would be sworn in. Porrino seems to have had a choice of landing spots, but chose a familiar one: Lowenstein Sandler, where he had practiced prior to entering the public sector a number of years ago. Porrino rejoined the firm to head its litigation practice. Months earlier, the firm brought on another former New Jersey attorney general, Anne Milgram, to the New York office.

Scarinci Hollenbeck, which has shown a willingness to add to its practice offerings in recent years, brought on several attorneys from education law firm Schwartz, Simon, Edelstein & Celso, most recently Nathanya Simon, a name partner at her former firm, which rebranded as the Schwartz Edelstein Law Group.

Newark firm Tanenbaum Keale, formed in January 2017 by Sedgwick alums, didn’t wait long to go bicoastal. Late last year the firm announced plans to open a Seattle office. Populating the office would be three attorneys from—you guessed it—Sedgwick.

Tanenbaum Keale was not the only group to make a daring move in 2017. The legal market incites some to merge or otherwise consolidate, but others hang a shingle, as did Laddey, Clark & Ryan partner Lauren Fraser and Assistant Deputy Public Defender Janine Cerra, forming Fraser & Cerra.

Roseland-based Mandelbaum Salsburg brought on two new practice leaders, including Ronald Coleman, an IP specialist whose trademark work for rock band The Slants took him all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It wasn’t only former state attorneys general who joined the law firm world. Ballard Spahr hired R. Stephen Stigall, attorney-in-charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden, to work in its white collar defense and internal investigations practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The move came just months after the firm announced two significant mergers in September with Lindquist & Vennum and Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz.

Ballard Spahr was not alone in shopping the east side of the Delaware River. Dilworth Paxson acquired 10 lawyers from Princeton-based Smith, Stratton, Wise, Heher & Brennan, adding a presence in in New Jersey as well as New York.

Coming back around to Connell Foley, firm alum Richard Badolato—who recently ended his term as Banking and Insurance commissioner—joined Connell Foley spinoff firm Walsh Pizzi O’Reilly Falanga of Newark. Badolato previously served as president of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and was a partner at Connell Foley for decades.