Seven government-services lawyers from Mount Laurel’s Capehart Scatchard are departing for a boutique firm amid a shifting political climate in Burlington County.
The seven attorneys, including Glenn Paulsen, former chairman of the Burlington County Republican Committee, will join attorney Adam Malamut’s Cherry Hill-based firm as of Feb. 22, according to those involved in the move. There they will form a government services practice, bringing expertise in areas such as land use, redevelopment and eminent domain.
Malamut is a criminal defense lawyer and municipal prosecutor who also has represented individuals and companies in insurance coverage disputes, personal injury, medical malpractice and products liability cases. His firm will have 17 lawyers when the new group settles in.
The move was first reported in the Burlington County Times.
Besides Paulsen, the group leaving Capehart Scatchard consists of Kelly Grant, who represents public- and private-sector clients in litigation, and focuses on the areas of environmental law, municipal government, land use, including Pinelands development, and condemnation; Primitivo Cruz, who focuses on employment, administrative, regulatory, and complex litigation matters; Anthony Drollas, who represents public and private clients in state and federal litigation and in administrative proceedings before the executive branch of state government; Evan Crook, a former state Superior Court judge who focuses on administrative, regulatory and complex litigation matters; William Burns, who focuses on litigation and representation of public entities and private businesses, including public and private employment agreements; and Thomas Hastie Jr., who handles public finance, project financing and redevelopment.
Grant was chairwoman of the governmental affairs practice and a member of the executive committee at Capehart Scatchard. She focuses on administrative law, environmental law and civil litigation.
All but Grant and Hastie have been based in Capehart Scatchard’s Trenton office, which will close after the change takes place, the firm said.
Capehart Scatchard has historically reaped a steady stream of work from elected officials in Burlington County, who have traditionally been Republican. The firm took in more than $1.7 million in revenue from contracts with the county and the freeholder board in 2017, according to reports filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
But voters in the county are increasingly choosing Democrats, who regained a 4-1 majority this year on the Board of Freeholders, the county’s legislative body, after more than 40 years of Republican control, according to reports.
Burlington County’s voters also chose a Democrat, Andy Kim, as their representative for the Third Congressional District, upsetting incumbent Republican Tom MacArthur and taking a seat that was in Republican hands since 2010. Also, the county’s state senator in the 8th District, Dawn Marie Addiego, changed her party affiliation to Democrat in January after representing the Republican Party in the Assembly and Senate since 2008.
Since 2016, Malamut has given more than $15,000 to Democratic candidates in New Jersey elections, mostly in Burlington County, and much of it to state Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, according to ELEC reports.
Malamut said he could not be certain if the work that Capehart Scatchard has received from Burlington County will now come to his firm.
“The choice is always with the client as to the attorneys they use. What made it attractive to me is, these attorneys are very well-regarded within their specialty. It gives us an opportunity to diversify and bring on folks that have expertise in various areas,” Malamut said.
Malamut declined to discuss how the group landed at his firm.
Paulsen did not return calls about the move, and others in the group declined to comment.
Capehart Scatchard’s managing shareholder, Mary Ellen Rose, said the change in composition of the Burlington County Freeholders would not hurt her firm.
“Clearly, there were connections between the Trenton office and Republicans in Burlington County,” but “we have clients on both sides of the aisle,” Rose said.
“Our ranks will diminish to 86 attorneys but we certainly do appreciate the many years of service of our governmental and regulatory practices in Trenton. We will explore expansion of our core practice areas of litigation, business, estates, labor, school law, family law and workers compensation defense,” she said.