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Duane Morris Picks Up Dewey Lawyers

By Gina Passarella
May 23, 2012
The Legal Intelligencer

Duane Morris is the latest Pennsylvania firm to benefit from the troubles of Dewey & LeBoeuf, hiring lawyers from the New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., locations of the dismantling firm.

The team of nine partners, three counsel and four associates is led by New York-based corporate partner Elizabeth W. Powers, a former executive committee member of Dewey & LeBoeuf. The group will add to Duane Morris' insurance, energy and technology practices. The team handles corporate, insurance regulatory, energy, trial, antitrust, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, tax and employee benefits matters. The group works on corporate, litigation and regulatory issues.

Powers represents issuers and underwriters in securities transactions as well as tax-exempt bond offerings, leveraged leases and nuclear fuel leases.

Powers said Tuesday that as an executive committee member, she and other committee members were not comfortable looking for a new firm while they were on the committee. It was a few weeks ago, however, that the committee determined it would be acceptable to start looking and that is when she reached out to New York partner and former New York Life general counsel Alice T. Kane about putting together a group.

The 16-member team that ultimately joined Duane Morris worked together in different ways over the years, Powers said. The attorneys represent large and small insurance companies, energy companies including public utilities, and large and small technology companies.

Duane Morris Chairman John Soroko said Dewey & LeBoeuf legacy firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae had a strong insurance practice and all of the lawyers joining Duane Morris were originally with LeBoeuf Lamb. Soroko said the 16-attorney team was attractive because it helps round out Duane Morris' insurance practice. The practice already had a strong litigation and coverage focus and the new lawyers add a regulatory and corporate component, he said.

The team also helps Duane Morris fill out its New York office, which Soroko said is closing in on 120 lawyers.

As far as Powers was aware, she said this was the first team to leave Dewey that was led by women. She said she is also very proud of the diversity of the group.

Aside from a platform that can support the three practice areas her team brings to the firm, Powers said, Duane Morris was very understanding of the group's potential as a whole.

"We did not want to have a situation where a firm was cherry-picking people from our group," Powers said.

Also joining as partners in New York are Cameron F. MacRae III, who was previously vice chairman and corporate department chairman of LeBoeuf Lamb and whose father was a name partner of that firm; Hugh T. McCormick; Mitchel C. Pahl; and K. Oliver Rust.

Jocelyn C. Bramble and Mark A. Walsh are joining Duane Morris as partners in Washington and Thomas H. Redekopp, who represents technology companies such as Zynga and online retailer Bambeco, is joining as a partner in Boston.

The three counsel and four associates will be resident in Duane Morris' New York office. They include of counsel David P. Bicks, and counsel Steven Levitsky and Edmond J. Valente. ...

Duane Morris isn't a stranger to picking up groups of lawyers from failing firms. It got a team of construction lawyers in New York in 2008 from Thelen and picked up 53 lawyers in 2009 from Wolf Block, adding depth to its labor and employment practice and adding a Cherry Hill, N.J., location.

This article originally appeared in The Legal Intelligencer and is republished here with permission from law.com.