Law Firms

Philly Firm Splits; Drinker Biddle Benefits

Updated: Miller Alfano & Raspanti, a Philadelphia commercial litigation boutique, is splitting. Due to a growing divergence between practice groups, half the firm reportedly will join Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath, and the other half is merging with Pittsburgh-based Pietragallo Bosick & Gordon.

Gregory Miller, the firm’s founder and managing partner, will be leading a group of 12 lawyers to Drinker Biddle, reports the Philadephia Business Journal. With the addition of the group, the 650-attorney firm will now have more than 200 lawyers in its Philadelphia office.

Meanwhile, the firm’s two other name partners, along with eight Miller Alfano attorneys, are joining the Pietragallo firm, which will now be known as Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a brief item (scroll down). Known for its litigation work, the combined firm will have 80 lawyers in seven offices in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

“It’s really been two firms in one for a while, but it hadn’t been as stark as it now is,” says Miller. His own practice, which focuses on white-collar defense, securities and mass tort litigation, is better-suited for a national, full-service firm, he tells the Business Journal.

More details are provided in a subsequent New York Lawyer story (sub. req.), which is reprinted from the Legal Intelligencer and details the Miller Alfano split at length.

Among other issues, it says that conflicts concerning contingency-fee plaintiff cases handled by Alfano and Raspanti prevented Drinker Biddle from adding the entire firm to its attorney roster. Says Miller of Raspanti: “A lot of the people he wanted to sue, I wanted to represent.” The two other name partners also weren’t interested in joining a big firm, according to Miller.

(Updated on Sept. 11, 2007, at 5:15 p.m. central time.)

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