Fox Rothschild Acquires Majority of Synnestvedt & Lechner

Fox Rothschild said today that it would acquire eight attorneys from intellectual property boutique Synnestvedt & Lechner.

The boutique’s managing partner, Joseph F. Posillico, will join the firm as a partner along with Gary Hecht and Richard Woodbridge. Alexis Barron, Charles Lindrooth and Tara Rachinsky will join as special counsel and Jimmie Johnson and Perry Fonseca will join as associates. Two patent agents, four paralegals, a docket clerk and six assistants will also join.

The firms said they are discussing the possibility of several other Synnestvedt & Lechner attorneys making the move to Fox Rothschild. There are currently 15 attorneys listed on the firm’s Web site, including the eight that are joining Fox Rothschild. Of the attorneys not currently making the move, two are partners, four are of counsel and one is an associate.

The new attorneys will practice for a time out of Synnestvedt’s current offices at 1101 Market St. in Philadelphia and 112 Nassau St. in Princeton but will eventually work out of Fox Rothschild’s offices in those cities.

The boutique has seen some departures of several partners, most recently with the move of partner Joseph D. Rossi to Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young. Four partners left for Saul Ewing a few months ago, and the firm laid off seven support staff not long after.

The addition brings Fox Rothschild’s intellectual property group to 40 attorneys.

“Synnestvedt & Lechner’s practice is particularly strong in the chemical and electrical areas of patent work,” Gerard P. Norton, chairman of Fox Rothschild’s intellectual property department, said in a statement. “This is a good complement to the existing Fox Rothschild practice, which is especially strong in the life-science fields of biotechnology, pharma, and medical devices.”

Read more about the combination in Wednesday’s Legal.

–Gina Passarella, Senior Staff Reporter

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11 Comments on “Fox Rothschild Acquires Majority of Synnestvedt & Lechner”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    This is a firm that had to shut down. It was a prime example of mismanagement by a bunch of self-centered individuals. It is quite telling how the firm did not die the way some firms do – by simply being swallowed up whole. Instead, the partners basically all went their separate ways. This was a place that was held together more by inertia and lack of ambition by the individuals than by any form of comraderie or collegiality.

  2. Philadelphia Lawyer Says:

    Fox Rothschild, Saul Ewing, and any other firm that has taken on the flack from the implosion of Synnestvedt better beware of the amount of political in-fighting and bad blood that they are also taking on by bringing the S&L crowd on board. Watching them unravel was like watching a train wreck unfold at slow speed (no, make that rapid speed since S&L’s implosion took all of one year). Now these firms have decided to ingest the poison pill.

  3. Former S&L Staff Member Says:

    The dismantling of Synnestvedt & Lechner is the culmination of years of management’s failure to act upon the firm’s problems. Frustrated employees expressed deep concerns to management about the backward nature of the firm’s technology, the lack of standardization of firm procedures and information sharing concerning patent and trademark rules and procedures, plus the absence of training for both support staff and non-IP experienced paralegals. Partnersthought of the firm as their own private fiefdom. Morale became a very serious problem once long time employees bolted the firm. Since I left S&L and became familar with other IP law firms, I feel Synnestvedt & Lechner’s was far superior in its handling of its clients intelletual property matters than any of the other IP law firms I have had contact with. It’s a shame management couldn’t have gotten together and solved its problems.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Whatever they were doing it worked. It worked for 111 years. Wait, I take that back, it worked for 108 years – before Joe Posillico became managing partner.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    This article mentions all who will join Fox. What about the people who have been dedicated members of the S&L family for the past 5, 10, 15, 20+ years who have been left scrambling for employment? I guess they are not worth mentioning?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Posillico was a disaster. I can’t believe he’s trying to rise above it all by claiming (in the AmLaw article) that he only took on the Managing Partner position as a “burden”, as if he reluctantly had it as a duty and he had nothing to do with the fact that the firm held together for 108 years only to implode under his watch. However, not all the blame rests with him. He and his cohorts seized power and were supported by many of the same partners that are now trash-talking the firm. They collectively ran the place into the ground and many of them bailed like the rats some of them are from the sinking ship. What about Ted Nacarella who was also on the management team when he bolted, along with THREE other former members of the management team (Steve Driscoll, Mark Simpson, and Greg Bernabeo) ???? I guess they saw that they couldn’t fix the firm’s myriad problems and decided to skip out and let the rest of the crew drown. Sorry, but they all have blood on their hands. They might have grabbed the remaining lifeboats for themselves but Karma has a way of rectifying things and we’ll see that in the next few years as Saul Ewing and Fox Rothschild end up having to fire/lay off these people for dereliction of duty!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    What ruined S&L was their continuous practice of inequitable compensation and advancement. They paid lateral hires from outside firms considerably more than they paid their own home grown attorneys. None of this even corresponded to the amount of revenue actually generated by the individual attorneys since some of the home grown attorneys generated the most revenue for the firm. It was clearly a manifestation of the partnership valuing attorneys “not from here” more than the ones they themselves trained.

    In late 2006, when they created a new pay structure meant to be more equitable to everyone, they still pegged each attorney to certain “levels” that appeared to give more credit to lateral hires than to the home grown team. Needless to say, their lack of respect for their own product was what drove down morale and what caused the first defections which happened well before the partners started leaving. How were they to expect loyalty when they weren’t loyal to their own people?

    These articles make it sound like it was the partners who willingly defected and caused the eventual dismemberment of the firm. However, if anyone did their homework, they would have seen that the defections started when several long-time associates, who in fact did much of the work of the firm, realized that their pathway to advancement was being blocked in favor of the advancement of lateral hires and started leaving. The partners then dumped the workload of those who left on the remaining associates without any increase in pay, which had the effect of causing further defections. Only after the writing started appearing on the wall did the partners then start defecting because they saw that the firm, already top heavy with partners (several without any clients), was becoming more and more top heavy.

    S&L is not disbanding because no one wants to run it. It is disbanding because it no longer became economically feasible to run it since people were leaving left and right.

    The short point of this all is that none of this would have happened had they simply played fair and aboveboard with their own people. Because they didn’t, they created a system of mutual distrust and disloyalty which caused people to leave and eventually caused the death of a firm that had lasted for 111 years.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Posillico was more than a disaster at S&L, he was more like a lethal dose of poison that was injected over a long period of time to cause a slow, painful death. And when he wasn’t in the office (which was often) he had others on hand to dispense the poison which slowly killed the morale of the support staff. Any firm that “seriously” has their Human Resource Director (Darla) do her job from a couch 2000 miles away is just laughable. The person who left the first comment on this blog about the backward nature of the firm’s technology, the lack of standardization of firm procedures and information sharing concerning patent and trademark rules and procedures, plus the absence of training for both support staff and non-IP experienced paralegals couldn’t have been more spot on. Management was more concerned with trivial, caddy matters that are reminiscent of high school. I believe that the reason so much focus was put on the trivial matters at S&L was because “Management” was not qualified or equipped to handle the serious issues. Therefore, they took on the role of the “schoolyard bullies” rather than problem solvers they were hired to be. The extraordinary support staff at S&L deserved more respect than the they received from the “so-called Management”. I can only hope that they will be treated more fairly in their new endeavors.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    S&L was the worst job I ever held in the legal profession. The partners at that firm were some of the most abusive and unreasonable people one could find anywhere. I felt like I was living under a reign of terror the entire time I worked there. Oh, and I totally agree with the comment about them valuing outside attorneys more than the people they trained themselves- it was quite obvious from the differences in how members of each group were talked about, and how they were compensated. Boy am I glad to hear that this firm has broken up. Good riddance!

  10. dgtech Says:

    I am almost brand new to blogging and really like your post, it is really on target !


  11. […] Fox Rothschild has snapped up since 2005. Among the acquisitions: former Philadelphia IP boutique Synnestvedt Lechner, which dissolved in August […]


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