Another out-of-state firm is growing its presence in Philadelphia, bringing on a large group of local litigators.
Los Angeles-based Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith has added 10 lawyers to its office in the city, including eight from another firm headquartered outside Philadelphia.
The firm’s newest Philadelphia partners are Walter “Pete” Swayze III, Megan Grossman, Michael Pullano, Gregory Hurchalla and Richard Goldberg. Swayze, Grossman and Pullano all come from Chicago-based Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, and are joined by associates Asher Block, John Borelli, Chester Darlington, Adrianna Yanez and David Yavil.
Swayze, who had been Segal McCambridge’s Philadelphia office managing partner, will also serve as co-chair of Lewis Brisbois’ life sciences practice and vice chair of its products liability practice. Grossman has been appointed vice chair of the life sciences practice.
Pullano spent less than a year at Segal McCambridge, having joined the firm in March after 14 years at Philadelphia-based Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby. At the time, he said he had been seeking a firm with a more national presence.
The group focuses on complex litigation involving medical devices, pharmaceuticals and other regulated products, he said. Swayze and Grossman’s current and recent clients have included Teva Pharmaceuticals, Arthrex, Camber Pharmaceuticals and Kimberly-Clark Corp. Pullano represents manufacturers and suppliers of heavy trucks and construction equipment.
In an interview Tuesday, Swayze said, “Segal McCambridge has gone through a lot of changes, and new opportunities were presented for me and my group and my clients. It was an opportunity that had to be embraced and seized.”
Segal McCambridge now has just one shareholder and three associates left in Philadelphia, according to the firm’s website. In an emailed statement, managing shareholder Mark Crane said the firm remains committed to Philadelphia, where senior partner John Turlik now leads the office.
“Segal McCambridge will continue to provide high quality legal services to numerous firm clients both in Pennsylvania and regionally. We expect to grow the Philadelphia office and expand our presence in the area in the coming months,” Crane said.
The other two new partners, Hurchalla and Goldberg, both have experience in prosecutors’ offices. Hurchalla, most recently a litigator at Reilly, McDevitt & Henrich, is a former deputy district attorney, deputy attorney general and assistant U.S. attorney. Goldberg was a cyber attorney at the Department of Justice, and was recruited to Lewis Brisbois by Portland partner Sean Hoar, the firm’s data privacy and cybersecurity practice chair, according to the firm.
Lewis Brisbois now has 24 lawyers in Philadelphia, the firm said when it announced the hires Jan. 11. It is among several out-of-state firms that have bolstered their presence in the city in the past year, including Holland & Knight, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Armstrong Teasdale, Campbell Conroy & O’Neil and Milber Makris Plousadis & Seiden.
“It’s thrilling to be part of the changing 2019 landscape. You look at what’s going on in the legal industry here and nationally, and there’s a lot of activity,” Swayze said. He added that being able to join John Salvucci, Lewis Brisbois’ Philadelphia managing partner and life sciences co-chair, was an important factor in his group’s decision as well.
“We’re very excited about this expansion and look forward to the further growth of our Philadelphia office,” Salvucci said in a statement about the hires.
Having a national presence has become more important for litigators, Swayze noted. At the same time, he said, more law firms want to have strong defense litigators on the ground in Philadelphia because of the deep plaintiffs bar in the city.
“The legal services industry has become incredibly competitive, and clients are looking to utilize less, not more lawyers, but utilize point people and have them manage cases all over the country with strong, local talent,” Swayze said. “When you have organic talent all over the country, clients can rely on point people who are familiar with the litigation.”
This is the second sizable group to leave Segal McCambridge’s Philadelphia office in recent years. In September 2017, seven toxic torts and environmental lawyers left the firm to join Goldberg Segalla.