Ten construction attorneys have left Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer to join Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith. The group includes senior partner Darrell Whiteley, who will be vice chair of Lewis Brisbois' construction practice, and partners Clare Cunningham and Joshua Jemal. Cunningham was an associate and Jemal was of counsel at Lester Schwab. The other seven are associates.
Whiteley said the group defends construction companies and developers. Their clients have included Tishman Construction Corp., Hunter Roberts Construction Group, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the MTA, he said.
Los Angeles-based Lewis Brisbois has about 850 attorneys in 25 offices, including about 90 lawyers in New York. Whiteley, who practiced at 60-attorney Lester Schwab for 19 years, said he wanted the opportunity to practice at a firm with a larger footprint. He said some construction companies no longer operate regionally. "The scope of this firm is one that suits the construction industry," he said, adding that the departure from Lester Schwab was amicable. "They've been very gracious," he said.
Michael McDonagh, managing partner of Lester Schwab, said many of the firm's partners represent construction companies in accident and labor law cases. "We did not lose any capability to defend those type of matters on behalf of our clients" and the group's departure will "have no effect on the viability" of the firm, he said. Lester Schwab hired two attorneys this week and is looking to fill other positions, he said.