US national firm Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner has emerged as the victor in the battle for defunct New York firm Baer Marks & Upham, taking 46 of the firm's attorneys and 80 per cent of its partners
Boutique New York firm Baer Marks fell apart last year after several high-profile departures. The 80-lawyer core of the firm became a target for Philadelphia-based Duane Morris & Heckscher, Boston-based Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo and technology specialist Brown Raysman. Brown Raysman began negotiating last November and is believed to have made offers to the vast majority of the Baer Marks partners. According to sources close to Baer Marks, the partners had an informal vote and plumped for the Brown Raysman offer as both the most inclusive and lucrative. Eighteen of the Baer Marks partners will join, although not all the equity partners will be able to join Brown Raysman's equity ladder. There will be no new management roles for Baer Marks partners because Brown Raysman does not have a formal management structure. The partners and attorneys who decided not to go to Brown Raysman have joined other firms on an ad hoc basis. It is believed that, in many cases, Baer Marks lawyers practising in areas in which Brown Raysman already had a considerable strength were offered better deals elsewhere.
"We want to avoid the problems that our Silicon Valley colleagues are experiencing" Peter Brown, Brown Raysman
Baer Marks was a well-respected New York firm with both Fortune 500 and mid-ranking clients. The majority of the Baer Marks lawyers joining Brown Raysman are from the corporate group. The firm's corporate and commercial practice and real estate group are both rated, but the real jewel is the insolvency practice. With a downturn in corporate work, the insolvency practice was particularly sought after, but Brown Raysman has secured all four partners in the group. Brown Raysman has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Hartford, New Jersey and Toronto. Last year, the firm took on 25 attorneys from Corbin Silverman & Sanseverino, Greble & Finger and Toronto-based Lafleur Brown. Brown Raysman managing partner Peter Brown said that the deal was an excellent strategic fit. "We'll be able to give better services to existing clients with our increased resources, and we'll broaden our client base," he said. "The technology sector, where we're traditionally strong, is still in trouble, and we want to avoid the problems that our Silicon Valley colleagues are experiencing." It is believed that most of Baer Marks' former clients will move over to Brown Raysman.