One of the top-ranked law firms in the United States is bolstering its Philadelphia presence in a big, big way.
In one fell swoop, the Los Angeles-based Lewis Brisbois is doubling the size of its regional office, hiring a core of eight lawyers from Segal McCambridge to staff its regional practice.
“The landscape in Philadelphia is changing,” said Walter “Pete” Swayze, one of five new partners at Lewis Brisbois. “If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.”
And Lewis Brisbois, which has added 100 lawyers a year in each of the last five years, is in a rapid growth mode. In 2018, the firm opened new locations in Reno, Nevada, and Walnut Creek, California. In the few weeks of 2019, they have already announced new offices in Charlotte, N.C. and St. Louis, Mo. with additional outposts opening in Savannah, Ga. and Washington D.C. in the coming months. The firm now employs 1,200 attorneys nationwide.
A seasoned defense lawyer who specializes in catastrophic events, Swayze is joined by new partners Megan E. Grossman, Michael B. Pullano, and Gregory Hurchalla (all formerly of Segal McCambridge). Also added as a partner at Lewis Brisbois is former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Goldberg, who left the Department of Justice in late December.
The Philadelphia region’s many pharmaceutical and medical-device manufacturers are one focus area for the expanded law firm. Swayze will serve as cochair of Lewis Brisbois’ life sciences practice with the firm’s managing partner, John T. Salvucci, and will handle high-profile product-liability cases.
“I left a fabulous law firm where for 20 years I was involved in management, but the opportunity to change and transition to a bigger firm was just something that was awfully appealing to me,” Swayze said. “It’s a very competitive legal environment, and Lewis Brisbois gives my group a national platform.”
Grossman, who earned a master’s in biomedical engineering, is a defense lawyer who will work with Swayze on life science matters. Pullano, who recently served as counsel for Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, will handle complex product-liability and professional liability cases, Swayze said.
Swayze has handled many of the region’s biggest pharmaceutical cases and has a long history of courtroom sparring with Philadelphia’s best-known attorneys.
“The plaintiff’s lawyers here are some of the best in the country and you have to be ready to deal with them,” Swayze said. “Bob Mongeluzzi, Tom Kline, Alan Feldman, Tom Duffy, and Matt Casey are all top shelf. I’ve faced off against all of them.”
Goldberg has brandished a badge for the federal government for 35 years, and most recently headed the Department of Justice’s computer hacking and intellectual property rights program in Philadelphia.
“Since 1993 I’ve been a cyber prosecutor,” Goldberg said. “That’s the experience that was attractive to them and makes this a natural fit.”
Goldberg also specialized in crisis management and disaster prevention. He served as the chief lawyer for the visit of Pope Francis and the Democratic National Convention. He works with victims dealing with cyber breaches, and helps in recovering hijacked data and restoring confidential information.