Armstrong Teasdale/courtesy photo Armstrong Teasdale. Courtesy photo

The executive chairman of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, along with six other lawyers from that firm, have left to start a Philadelphia office for Am Law 200 firm Armstrong Teasdale.

The Midwestern firm brought on Richard Scheff, Jonathan Boughrum and Carrie Sarhangi Love as partners, as well as Katharine Ladd, who had been an associate but was hired as a partner. Associates David Herman, Bianca Valcarce and Michael Witsch have also joined the new office.

Scheff, whose white-collar and investigations practice focuses on financial services and pharmaceutical and medical device companies, was chairman of Montgomery McCracken from 2009 to 2016. Since 2016 he has been the firm’s executive chairman. Before entering private practice, he was chief of the corruption and labor section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Scheff said he reached out to managing partner John Beulick and chairman Michael Chivell, longtime personal friends of his, in the spring. He was looking to join a firm with a strong intellectual property practice, he said, which he saw Montgomery McCracken as lacking.

“Is it ever the right time to leave a firm you’ve been at for 28-and-a-half years?” he said. “Armstrong Teasdale offers some expertise that frankly I wasn’t able to offer from Montgomery McCracken.”

Asked about his book of business, Scheff declined to give specific numbers, but said he was the largest revenue generator at Montgomery McCracken. He said his clients have agreed to come to Armstrong Teasdale as well.

Philadelphia is Armstrong Teasdale’s first East Coast location. The firm has more than 230 lawyers, and had revenue of $116 million in 2017, according to The American Lawyer, and profits per equity partner of $594,000.

Beulick said Armstrong Teasdale has a number of clients on the East Coast, including some in Philadelphia, so the firm has been looking at expanding to the east for a while. As for Philadelphia specifically, he said, the opportunity to add Scheff and his team was attractive, and the market had some similarities to the places where his firm already has offices.

“The infrastructure costs in Philadelphia, they’re not Midwest ranges, but they’re actually pretty reasonable for such a large population center,” Beulick said. Growing that office to 20 or more lawyers would be “ideal,” he said, and those additions would include support for Scheff’s practice, patent lawyers and a corporate practice.

He said the firm is also “looking very hard” at expanding further along the East Coast.

In a statement Monday, Montgomery McCracken vice chairman and executive partner Richard Simins said, “We thank Rich for his years of service to the firm and wish him and his team well.”

Armstrong Teasdale is the second Am Law 200 firm to open a Philadelphia office this year. Holland & Knight did so in July, taking a large group from Reed Smith. Also this year, Long Island-based midsize firm Milber Makris Plousadis & Seiden opened a Philadelphia location by hiring six lawyers from the now-shuttered firm Powell Trachtman.

For more business of law coverage exclusively geared toward midsize firms, sign up for a free trial of ALM’s new weekly newsletter, The Mid-Market Report.


As Non-Pennsylvania Firms Invade Philly, Will Native Firms Shrink?