Dennis Block to Leap from Cadwalader to Greenberg Traurig, Where He Will Chair Global M&A Practice

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A leading mergers and acquisitions lawyer is leaving Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft after 13 years for Greenberg Traurig, where he will chair the global M&A practice group, reports the DealBook blog of the New York Times.

Dennis Block, 69, “will help move our team into the ranks of the foremost M&A practices,” says his new firm’s chief executive, Richard Rosenbaum, in a written statement. “We envision an exciting time of growth and collaboration, in which Dennis will play a pivotal role.”

His presence will also boost the firm’s international profile, Paul Maher, who heads the London office of Greenberg Traurig, said in a press release, calling his presence “an essential move for the firm,” Reuters reports.

Block, who is to start on Monday at his new firm, is expected to work closely with Bruce Zirinsky, the co-chairman of Greenberg’s global business reorganization and financial restructuring group. The two were previously colleagues both at Cadwalader and at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where Block was on the attorney roster for three decades before moving to Cadwalader in 1998.

At that time, the Brooklyn Law School graduate told New York magazine it is individual attorneys, not the law firm name, that draws clients to a legal practice, the DealBook post notes.

“Clients don’t hire law firms anymore—they hire lawyers,” he told the magazine. “My clients didn’t select Weil; they selected Dennis Block, and most, if not all, of my old clients followed me to Cadwalader.”

Hard work is one of the secrets to his own success, he said in a New York magazine cover story in 2001, after moving to Cadwalader. It’s not uncommon, he said, for him to work from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, and there hasn’t been a Sunday dinner in 30 years when he didn’t have to take an important phone call.

“I didn’t build Weil’s corporate practice,” he told the magazine, “by working shopkeeper hours.”

Related coverage:

New York Law Journal (Feb. 2007): “Does the Future Belong to Cadwalader?”

Legal Week (July 1999) (sub. req.): “Weil Gotshal, Block in public war of words”

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