With four lateral partner hires announced on Jan. 15, immigration firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy is expanding in Dallas and opening a new office in Houston.
The new hires include partners Steve Ladik, Kristi Taylor and Paige Taylor, who join Fragomen’s Dallas office from Berry Appleman & Leiden, and Kelly Cobb, who is leaving FosterQuan in Houston to open the Houston office.
“It’s two different moves of two different groups but united under a single purpose of Fragomen expanding its footprint in Texas,” Ladik said.
Ladik, who was managing partner of Berry Appleman’s Dallas office, said he and his group joined Fragomen on Jan. 6 because the 425-lawyer firm has offices around the world.
“More and more of our corporate clients are becoming more and more globally oriented,” he said.
Cobb, who has resigned from FosterQuan but hasnot set a firm date to join Fragomen, also said her clients have international immigration needs.
“Immigration has really changed since I first started practicing in ’97. Clients are looking for immigration providers that can provide excellent U.S. immigration [counsel], as well as global,” Cobb said. Fragomen has “a presence all over the world to help facilitate travel to the U.S. but also travel around the world. I’ve seen that need grow and grow.”
In a written statement, Austin Fragomen, the New York City-based chairman of Fragomen’s executive committee, said Texas is a “unique economic powerhouse and a major center of the global energy industry” so the expansion will benefit clients in Texas and elsewhere.
In 2007, Ladik, Paige Taylor, Kristi Taylor and others left the former Jenkens & Gilchrist to open Berry Appleman’s Dallas office. At that time, Ladik said it made sense to move to an immigration specialty firm because a general practice firm such as Jenkens wasn’t a good fit for the immigration practice.
Berry Appleman is a “very good firm” with excellent attorneys, he said, but the geographic reach of Fragomen will allow him and his group to better meet client needs.
Fragomen has a total of 17 offices in the U.S., and 26 offices in Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Shawn Orme, a partner in Berry Appleman’s Dallas office who also manages the firm’s Houston office, noted that his firm has overseas offices in London, Geneva, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Sydney, and it intends to open more outside the United States. He said the 65-lawyer firm grew 20 percent in 2013, and it has 12 lawyers in Dallas and eight in Houston.
As to the departures in Dallas, Orme said, “We wish them well.”
Charles Foster, a cochairman of FosterQuan, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
According to information from Fragomen, two associates in Dallas and one in Houston left Berry Appleman to join Fragomen. Cobb said it’s likely some associates will join her at Fragomen.
Ladik, who declined to identify his clients, said he and Paige Taylor will work part of the time out of Houston because of their clients. Cobb said her clients are in the oil and gas, oilfield services, shipping and intellectual technology businesses.