Midsized Firms Bulk Up Staff in 2007

In researching for a piece last week on how Pennsylvania midsized firms fared in 2007 and their projections for 2008, the majority of firm leaders I spoke to reported modest to significant increases in revenue and clientele last year.

Of course, more business often necessitates more staffing and many midsized firms across the state got a little bit bigger in 2007.

Meyer Unkovic & Scott bulked up its roster slightly with two new associates for its litigation group.

Managing partner Kevin McKeegan described the firm as “very cautious” when it comes to hiring.

Philadelphia-based IP firm Woodcock Washburn hired eight associates fresh out of law school, three trademark and copyright lawyers for its Philadelphia office and added three partners and an associate to its Atlanta office.

Executive director Jay Rose called the new recruits a “good synergistic fit” and explained that while some of the hires were made to assist with the workload or fill a void, others were made simply as a means of organic expansion and growth.

“The trademark and copyright group really fit something [we needed],” he said, adding that 2008 is slated to include even more new hires than 2007. “And we saw an opportunity in Atlanta to add to our critical mass.”

Harrisburg, Pa.-based McNees Wallace & Nurick added all four attorneys and their staff from Lancaster, Pa.-based Chesters & Miller to its Lancaster office as well as adding six associates to its Philadelphia office.

According to David M. Kleppinger, managing attorney of McNees Wallace, it’s standard protocol for the firm to hire five or six first-year associates every summer but it rarely brings anyone else on board unless absolutely essential.

“We’re not in a position to over-hire ahead of the need,” he said.

Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein hired two new associates, Tucker Arensberg hired five new attorneys to replace five departing attorneys, and Dilworth Paxson added thirteen new associates to replace ten that left.

Lancaster-based Hartman Underhill & Brubaker didn’t hire anyone new in 2007 but that’s not for lack of need.

“We’re very particular in terms of who we hire and about finding people who are interested in working in our part of the country [as opposed to the city],” said managing partner Alexander Henderson, III. “We probably would hire two right attorneys right now.”

— By Zack Needles, Staff Reporter

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