Robert Kadlec
Robert Kadlec ()

Duane Morris has hired Robert Kadlec, a longtime partner at Sidley Austin, to bolster a corporate practice it launched in Los Angeles earlier this year after absorbing local boutique Horgan Rosen Beckham & Coren.

Kadlec, a certified public accountant who has worked at Sidley since 1995, advises clients on corporate financing transactions, corporate governance matters and M&A deals.

He said that Duane Morris’ addition in January of eight corporate and banking lawyers from Horgan Rosen—five of them partners—had signaled to him that the Philadelphia-based Am Law 100 firm was serious about expanding in Southern California. He noted that Duane Morris, with a location in San Diego, even has one more office in the Golden State than Sidley does.

“It just was a better opportunity,” Kadlec said. “I think the platform and the focus of Duane Morris not only in Los Angeles, but also on middle-market M&A, was right for my practice.”

A mutual friend had encouraged Kadlec to talk with Duane Morris’ national corporate practice chairman about the firm’s ambitions in Los Angeles. Once Kadlec realized that the head of the group was Brian Kerwin, a colleague from Kadlec’s days as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, he said he got in touch. (Kerwin took over as corporate chair at Duane Morris in April 2015, shortly after the firm split with former practice leader George Nemphos, who subsequently resolved a litigation dispute involving the firm and a former client.)

Kadlec concluded that attributes like Duane Morris’ flexibility on fee arrangements made the firm a good fit for his clients. Kadlec said that as far as he’s aware, no other lawyers will be following him to Duane Morris from his former firm. Earlier in the summer, Duane Morris picked off another former Sidley corporate partner in Gerard Hekker, who is based in Singapore but also works out of the firm’s San Francisco office.

Duane Morris, which saw its financials rise in 2016, has been busy on the lateral hiring front this year. The firm has hired Dinsmore & Shohl commercial litigation partner Randal Whitlatch in Pittsburgh, Mercedes-Benz USA’s former head of litigation Miguel Pozo as a partner in Atlanta, a six-lawyer real estate team from Carlton Fields Jorden Burt in Miami and Pepper Hamilton corporate partner Michael Gallagher in Philadelphia.

Sidley, which opened a second office in Los Angeles two years ago, has of course also been busy in the city. Last week the firm welcomed former local federal prosecutor Jean-Claude “J.C.” André as a partner for its U.S. Supreme Court and appellate litigation practice.