Departed BI Shareholder, Recruiter Respond to Article

In an article written last month by The Legal’s sister publication, the Legal Times, several former Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney shareholders were critical of the firm’s expansion strategy and claimed Pennsylvania-based management gave satellite offices little support. The firm had seen the departure of a number of high-level practice group leaders and office heads since 2007, leaving it more than 30 lawyers fewer this year than last.

In an article in The Legal Tuesday, Buchanan Ingersoll CEO Thomas L. VanKirk went through the names of the majority of the attorneys who left, offering explanations for each. In response to comments by the firm’s former recruiter, Jerome Kowalksi, who said every attorney at Buchanan Ingersoll who has the ability to move has his or her resume out there, VanKirk said Kowalski was no longer used by the firm because he brought them nothing but “dogs.”

Kowalski wasn’t immediately available for comment by press time last week, but he did get in touch with The Legal Tuesday.

“If I brought them dogs,” he said, “rest assured they were all of the finest pedigree.”

VanKirk also commented that William O’Connor and a group of attorneys who left the firm’s New York office took a bankruptcy practice that was operating at an unprofitable level. O’Connor was also unavailable last week but in an interview Tuesday said he and the firm signed non-disparagement agreements. He said he was disappointed to see what he said was the second time VanKirk violated the agreement, referring to comments in the respective articles in the Legal Times and The Legal.

According to O’Connor, he was the second most profitable partner at the firm at the time of his departure.

— Gina Passarella, Senior Staff Reporter

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