Ogletree-Deakins-Sign Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

A group from Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads’ employment practice has left to join Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart’s Philadelphia office, joining another Montgomery McCracken veteran at their new firm.

Daniel O’Meara and Janice Dubler have joined the firm as shareholders, Ogletree announced Wednesday, along with associates Amanda Crawford and Katheryn Eisenmann.

The two shareholders practice in the pharmaceutical, aerospace, executive search, manufacturing, building products and nonprofit sectors. O’Meara, who had been the chair of Montgomery McCracken’s employment group, focuses on employment litigation, labor relations and preventative human resources practices. Dubler, who was vice chair of the practice group at Montgomery McCracken, concentrates on litigation and counseling on matters including discrimination and harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, trade secrets and restrictive covenants.

O’Meara said it has been difficult to run a labor and employment practice of four lawyers, and the larger platform Ogletree provides will benefit them. Noting the numerous labor and employment lateral moves Philadelphia and other markets have seen recently, he said most involve lawyers moving to a larger practice.

“There are substantial economies of scale in labor and employment practice,” O’Meara said. “More and more sophisticated clients are going to national and international firms.”

Still, he said, those same clients often want local counsel who know the agencies and policies at play in each case. Ogletree’s 850 lawyers are spread across 52 offices.

Ogletree’s Philadelphia managing shareholder, Donald Gamburg, said the new group’s practice will be helpful not only to Philadelphia clients, but to those in Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

For O’Meara and Dubler, the move means a reunion with Paul Lancaster Adams, a shareholder in Ogletree’s Philadelphia office, and a former Montgomery McCracken partner. Adams joined Ogletree in 2012 to head up the Philadelphia office, but he spent three years in-house at Microsoft between his law firm roles.

Since joining Ogletree, he said, his practice has grown. And he told the same to O’Meara and Dubler.

“Everything they said to me when I came to the firm has happened, and more,” Adams said. “I have clients literally all over the world.”

The new group brings Ogletree’s Philadelphia head count to 12. The firm entered the Philadelphia market in 2007 after acquiring a four-lawyer firm.

As labor and employment boutiques continue to grow, O’Meara said there is still a place for general practice firms in the labor and employment space, but they have to value that practice and create a large enough base of support for it. Adams said those practice groups at general practice firms may have a long history with local corporate clients, but lack the specific expertise clients can find at a firm like Ogletree.

Adams said his firm’s Philadelphia office still has room to grow, as half of its work comes out of referrals from other locations. The Philadelphia associates have been “slammed,” he said, so bringing in more associates was necessary.

Montgomery McCracken is planning to rebuild its labor and employment capabilities, a spokeswoman for the firm said. In a statement, Montgomery McCracken chairman Lou Petroni noted that O’Meara and Dubler had been with the firm for a long time, and wished them well.