Not even three weeks into 2018, aggressive lateral hiring is continuing to shape the legal business landscape in the state and beyond.
Throughout January, several Pennsylvania-based law firms have announced lateral hires at home and in other markets, as they look to bulk up specific offices or practices.
Growing in Pittsburgh
Cozen O’Connor trumpeted its latest Pittsburgh hire on Thursday, announcing that of counsel Gregg Kander is the 29th Pennsylvania lawyer it has recruited from Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney in just nine months. Kander is outside general counsel to Cumberland Packing Corp., the Brooklyn, New York, company that makes Sweet’N Low, Sugar in the Raw and other sweeteners and food products.
Cozen O’Connor opened its Pittsburgh office last May with three partners from Buchanan Ingersoll. Others followed, including lawyers from other offices. Kander said he had worked closely with several of the lawyers who made that move.
Cumberland was already a Cozen O’Connor client, the firm said, and Kander noted that he has worked closely with partner Amy Divino, who handles Cumberland’s intellectual property matters. Given Kander’s pre-existing relationship with the firm, “it made a ton of sense for him to be at Cozen,” Pittsburgh managing partner Jeremy Garvey said.
Through the hire, Kander said, Cozen O’Connor gains access to any work Cumberland needs, including non-IP areas like labor and employment, corporate and transactional work.
In another Pittsburgh move, Blank Rome added to its commercial litigation practice, bringing on partner Andrew Fletcher. Fletcher previously led Pepper Hamilton’s litigation practice in Pittsburgh, and he was the vice chair of Pepper Hamilton’s international and domestic arbitration practice group.
Fletcher’s litigation experience includes matters related to the oil and gas industry.
“Beyond his significant trial experience, Andy’s understanding of the unique issues that oil and gas companies face in Pennsylvania, particularly contract and intellectual property disputes relating to drilling and other aspects of the industry, will complement our energy industry team,” firm chairman Alan Hoffman said in a statement.
Blank Rome opened its Pittsburgh office in 2015. Fletcher said the city is experiencing a period of “vitality” and innovation, with the growth of startup and technology companies there, which is having an impact on the local legal community as well.
“The oil and gas industry is making legacy investments in the region. Pittsburgh’s historic leadership in manufacturing continues to generate thousands of jobs and create new opportunities for growth. And the innovation we’re seeing relating to artificial intelligence and other computer-driven technologies is making Pittsburgh an exciting destination for both innovative businesses and young people alike,” he said in a statement.
Blank Rome also added to its consumer finance litigation group in New York earlier this month, hiring Scott Wortman from Warshaw Burstein.
Pepper Hamilton continued growth in its financial services group this month by hiring Scott Saks, building on two other additions to that practice in 2017. Saks joined the firm’s New York office, coming from Paul Hastings, the firm announced Jan. 9.
Saks’ practice focuses on securities, capital markets, finance and corporate transactions, public and private securities offerings, high-yield and investment grade debt offerings, committed leveraged and other bank financings and securities law compliance. In addition to New York, he has also practiced in London and Paris, and has experience working on transactions in various international markets, including Asia and South Africa.
At Post & Schell, the firm’s growing construction practice group added principal Paul Logan, who had been a founding partner of Powell, Trachtman, Logan, Carrle & Lombardo. In a statement, Logan noted that the move gives him greater geographic reach, as his former firm has offices just in Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
“To be part of a group that spans the mid-Atlantic—including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Virginia, and North Carolina—allows us to represent the interests of large contractors that operate throughout the region on both public and private projects,” Logan said.
Logan represents owners, contractors, material suppliers and other construction-related businesses on matters involving state and local government. Before entering the law firm world, he was an assistant attorney general for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Post & Schell added three lateral partners to its construction practice in 2017—Michael Winfield from Rhoads & Sinon in November, and Mason Avrigian Jr. and Jeffrey Wallack from Wisler Pearlstine in February.
Looking to bring on a lawyer with extensive experience in real estate lending, Ballard Spahr this month hired partner Jeffrey Page from Pennsylvania-based rival Reed Smith. Page focuses on real estate finance and representing large lender groups in major transactions.
Firm chairman Mark Stewart said Page brings to Ballard Spahr “the kind of forward-thinking, client-focused innovation that clients are demanding in the digital age.” Two other attorneys from Page’s real estate finance team joined him in the move.
In addition to his law firm experience, Page previously served as executive director in the New York office of a major European bank.
Ballard Spahr also hired special counsel Fred Miller, who specializes in matters involving the Uniform Commercial Code and payment systems. Miller currently chairs the Uniform Law Commission Drafting Committee on Regulation of Virtual Currency Businesses Act, and according to Ballard Spahr, he has participated in all amendments to the UCC since 1987.
Miller is in the Minneapolis office, which Ballard Spahr recently gained through its merger with Lindquist & Vennum.
“Fred is an icon in consumer financial services, UCC matters, and payment systems—including virtual currency,” said Alan Kaplinsky, who co-leads Ballard Spahr’s consumer financial services group, in a statement. “His decades of experience and leadership in these areas will make him an invaluable resource to the firm’s clients as they navigate the challenges posed by today’s increasingly complex regulatory landscape.”
Pittsburgh-based Cohen & Grigsby brought on a senior adviser it its nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations practice. Kate Dewey was most recently the president of The Forbes Funds, where she held that position for five years.
Before that, she was a founding partner at Dewey & Kaye, one of the first consulting practices dedicated to serving nonprofit organizations, foundations and government agencies. The consultancy was acquired by ParenteBeard LLC in 2011.
Dewey is not a lawyer, but is expected to bring her consulting experience into an integrated practice that provides both corporate legal services and strategic counseling for nonprofits of all sizes, the firm said. She joined the firm Jan. 2.