How Pa.'s Investment Management Practice Shrank

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Six years after bringing an investment management practice to Philadelphia-based Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, partner Laura Anne Corsell and of counsel Don E. Felice have left to join Newark-based McCarter & English's Philadelphia office.

Those six years have seen Philadelphia's investment management practice change considerably.

In 2007, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Ballard Spahr, Pepper Hamilton and Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen all had strong investment management practices—sometimes called "40 Act" practices after the Investment Company Act of 1940—in Philadelphia.

But Ballard Spahr lost William H. Rheiner, the partner-in-charge of its investment management group for more than 20 years, along with partners E. Carolan Berkley and John N. Ake, of counsel Lisa M. King and associate Matthew R. DiClemente, to Stradley Ronon in 2008.

The following year, Wolf Block imploded.

Several of the other Pennsylvania firms still active in investment management, such as Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Dechert and K&L Gates, have the bulk of their practices based outside the city, primarily in Washington, D.C.

Today, Stradley Ronon, with 50 investment management lawyers, most of whom, including 17 partners, are based in Philadelphia, has by far the largest practice presence in the city.

Drinker Biddle has the second largest, with eight partners and another eight associates, counsel and senior attorneys based in Philadelphia, but the rest of the firm's nearly 30-lawyer practice is spread out across its Chicago and Los Angeles offices.

Pepper Hamilton, meanwhile, has 12 lawyers total in its investment management practice, with four partners in Philadelphia and the others in Washington, D.C., and Wilmington.

In addition, Montgomery McCracken, which began building its investment management practice after Corsell and Felice joined, still has two attorneys in the practice in Philadelphia and another four in its New York office.

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