With the move, Kramer Levin's litigation and appellate practice now boasts of 24 lawyers and four offices
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel has become the first AmLaw 200 law firm to set up shop in Washington DC, partnering with Robbins Russel Englert Orseck & Untereiner.
According to a joint statement, the combination adds 24 attorneys to Kramer Levin's litigation and appellate practice, including 11 partners, two counsel and 11 associates, as well as 14 professionals.
As the deal is finalized in the coming weeks, Kramer Levin will establish a presence in Washington under the direction of Robbins Russell partners Gary Orseck and Jennifer Windom, who will serve as co-managing partners of the new office, which will be renamed as Kramer Levin Robbins Russell.
Kramer Levin's Litigation Department Chair, Barry Berke, stated that the two firms are a "perfect combination" owing to Robbins Russell's well-regarded bench of trial lawyers and the firm's expertise in appellate work and commercial litigation.
In addition to merging, the firms have created a powerful bankruptcy practice that combines Robbins Russells' bankruptcy litigation team with Kramer Levin's bankruptcy and restructuring practice that has successfully represented big names like Forever 21, Toys R Us and Hertz.
It is the first major merger for Kramer Levin since it opened its New York flagship store in 1968. Howard Spilko serves as the firm's managing partner. The firm has offices in New York, Menlo Park, Paris and Washington, DC.
The firm invested considerable resources in expanding its Paris presence in 2021. It includes adding a five-lawyer team from Eversheds Sutherland. In Feb 2022, it announced that it had hired Jerome Labrousse, an expert in tax and ESG, from the French independent De Gaulle Fleurance, bringing the firm's Paris headcount to over 55 lawyers.
Last summer, Kramer Levin lost its co-chair, James Moriarty, to Goodwin Procter as the latter firm looked to expand its global private equity practice.
Founded in 2001, Roberts Russell is well known for its representation of clients before the US Supreme Court. In its 20-year history, the firm has argued a total of 45 cases in the Supreme Court, and its attorneys have tried more than 150 jury trials to verdict across the trial, appellate and bankruptcy courts across the country, in addition to its Supreme Court work.
In January 2022, the firm has represented Sony Interactive Entertainment in a $340 million lawsuit relating to its PlayStation product before the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, which resulted in a victory for Sony.
Orseck stated that the firm is "extremely proud" of what it has accomplished independently over the past two decades, adding that the firm looks forward to expanding its existing service offerings with Kramer Levin's team, as their practices are complementary to our own.
Fairfax Associates reported in October 2021 that US law firm merger activity has lagged to pre-pandemic levels in 2021, despite a rebound in Q3 when eight mergers went live, including Holland & Knight's acquisition of Dallas' Thompson & Knight.
The merger between Verrill Dana and Rackemann Sawyer & Brewester was completed in January of this year, bringing the firm's Boston attorney headcount to 60 and its overall headcount to nearly 150.
Arent Fox has completed its merger with Schiff Hardin last week, and the merged firm now operates as ArentFox Schiff. As a result of the merger, the combined firm entered the top 100 US law firms by revenue, rivalling firms like Barnes & Thornburg and Crowell & Moring, which have revenues of around US$508 million.
It was announced in 2021 that Crowell would merge with Chicago-based technology and intellectual property firm Brinks Gilson & Lione to expand its footprint in the Midwest. 61 Brinks lawyers will join Crowell, including 27 partners, when the deal takes effect in July.