(Reuters) – New York law firm Harris St. Laurent & Wechsler expanded to Washington, DC, on Monday with the hire of two well-known white-collar lawyers.
The firm, which is focused on commercial litigation and white-collar enforcement, brought on Barry Pollack and Addy Schmitt to run its new operation in Washington. Schmitt, who will be managing partner of the office, arrives from law firm Miller & Chevalier, while Pollack joins from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel.
“The DC market, like a lot of markets, has been seeing the boutique firms being eaten up by the large firms,” said Jonathan Harris, the managing partner of Harris St. Laurent & Wechsler. “We think we present a really attractive option for clients who are looking for a boutique, and for lawyers who are looking to work at a boutique.”
It’s the first foray outside of New York for the 24-lawyer firm. Attorneys at the firm said DC was a natural place to expand given it is home to the major regulatory agencies, the US Justice Department and Congress.
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“From a white-collar and regulatory enforcement perspective, DC obviously has a lot of action,” Schmitt said.
Pollack and Schmitt launched the new office together on Monday, and the firm is aiming to ultimately have between eight and 10 lawyers based in Washington, Harris said.
Pollack, a prominent trial lawyer whose clients have included Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and former Virginia lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax, said his practice was more suitable for a small boutique than to a large corporate defense firm.
Pollack’s former firm, Washington, DC-based Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck & Untereiner, merged with Kramer Levin, a large New York-headquartered firm, last year. Pollack said smaller law firms give lawyers more opportunities to go to court to try cases and present fewer conflict of interest issues.
While at Robbins Russell and Kramer Levin, Pollack represented Assange, who remains in Great Britain fighting extradition to the United States on cyberespionage charges, as part of a solo law practice unaffiliated with his firms. But Pollack said Harris St. Laurent & Wechsler is willing to take Assange on as a client.
“We have no problem representing Julian Assange,” Harris said. “We think it’s a major 1st Amendment case.”
Kramer Levin combines with litigation firm to enter the DC market
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