Holland & Knight buys communications firm

Atlanta’s Holland & Knight has acquired niche communications firm Koteen & Naftalin to boost its Washington DC telecoms practice.

The merger is the latest in a series of link-ups as standalone technology firms rush to join larger practices.

Seven-partner Koteen & Naftalin will increase the size of Holland & Knight’s Washington telecoms practice to 15 lawyers.

Tom Hutton, a partner in Holland & Knight’s telecommunications practice, says: “The firm offers a greater depth in wireless and common carrier [telephone companies] work than we have had before. They also have broad expertise in all areas of communications.”

Koteen & Naftalin’s clients include NBC, The New York Times, Telephone and Data Systems and US Cellular Corporation.

It is the third specialist Washington telecoms practice to join a major firm in the last month. Communications boutique Fisher Wayland Cooper Leader & Zaragoza merged with fellow Washington firm Shaw Pittman, while Morrison & Foerster acquired Gurman Blask & Freedman.

Hutton says: “It is a trend. There are fewer and fewer standalone telecoms boutiques. I think clients often look to a law firm to be able to handle a broad range of problems, and the small firms don’t offer that capability and are at a disadvantage compared to the larger firms.

“If a broadcast company has an employment law issue such as a discrimination claim, it is nice to have it all in one firm.

“I think the standalone communications boutiques are feeling that they need to be within a firm that offers a broader capability.”

Marvin Rosenberg, head of Holland & Knight’s telecoms practice, says: “We are pleased to have such a distinguished group of attorneys joining our existing practice.

“We believe that this merger will make Holland & Knight one of the dominant telecommunications firms in the country.”

Holland & Knight is rapidly expanding in the US and currently has nearly 1,000 lawyers.

In February it opened in Chicago by merging with Burke Weaver & Prell.