Eleanor Alter leads 6-attorney Kasowitz team to new matrimonial boutique

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Sought-after matrimonial lawyer Eleanor Alter has exited Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman, along with five other lawyers, to form a new family practice boutique.

She said her decision to establish Alter Wolff & Foley last week after 20 years at Kasowitz Benson had “nothing to do with money” and cited “internal events” at the firm including the departure of friends in the firm’s employment and insurance recovery practice groups, the New York Law Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Last year, four partners including the chair of the firm’s employment practice left for DLA Piper, and about 17 lawyers in a group headed by insurance recovery partner Robin Cohen went to McKool Smith earlier this year, the article notes.

Alter, 77, has represented celebrities including Robert De Niro, Madonna, Mia Farrow, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, as well as numerous law partners, corporate counsel and their spouses in cases in which partnership agreements often play a key role.

Few major firms in New York include a matrimonial practice group, she told the legal publication, because of potential conflicts that can arise from multiple sources such as the client’s spouse, members of the client’s family and trust beneficiaries. “You have to be very, very careful,” she said.

In a written statement Wednesday, she called the establishment of the new boutique “bittersweet” and said “We have the utmost respect for Marc [Kasowitz] and all of the other partners.”

In his own statement, the Kasowitz Benson founder described Alter as an exceptional family law attorney and said he had no doubt the new firm would be very successful.

The move puts Alter at the forefront of a growing group of powerhouse women lawyers, said Cohen, who now heads the insurance recovery practice at McKool Smith.

“We are witnessing a real trend,” she told the legal publication, “where prominent women attorneys with significant books of business are either starting their own law firms or moving to places where they will have a meaningful role in the vision and leadership of the firm.”

See also: “Four Lawyers over Age 65 Start a New Law Firm with a Civil Liberties Focus” “Lanny Davis opens a new law firm at an age when many practitioners retire”

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