Six partners, one associate and three staff members departed Cherry Hill firm Flaster Greenberg PC to form a new firm.
Lex Nova Law LLC, described as a high-end corporate boutique firm, situated its Cherry Hill office in the same building as Flaster Greenberg at 1810 Chapel Ave. W. The lawyers announced their new firm on Jan. 2.
Among those who left Flaster Greenberg were six partners – five of whom practiced in Cherry Hill, including former chairman Peter Spirgel, tax and securities lawyer Markley Roderick, former bankruptcy practice chairman E. Richard Dressel, former chairman of Flaster’s commercial litigation practice Darren Goldstein, and loss prevention partner William Skinner.
Trust and estates attorney Bernard Eizen practiced out of Flaster’s Philadelphia office.
“It always is a bunch of factors that add up to a decision, but ultimately it’s a strategic decision that the direction our firm wanted to head in versus the direction we were comfortable with differed,” Spirgel told NJBIZ. “When enough people felt that way and it seemed like we were going to scatter, [that’s when we decided] instead of going to various other firms, everyone would try the formation of a new firm and [in] having essentially what we had had years ago, recreating that.”
Flaster has grown as a firm to include a wide variety of practice groups that he and other now-Lex Nova attorneys didn’t see as synergistic, Spirgel said.
“To our view, they didn’t add anything to our practices and often were not as profitable,” said Spirgel.
Lex Nova is starting off with the newest technology, something firms “only get one chance to do,” he said.
The attorneys who left Flaster for Lex Nova all had long tenures at the firm. Spirgel spent 31 years there, and the person with the least time spent “probably eight or 10 years,” he said.
Prior to creating Lex Nova, Spirgel served as Flaster’s managing shareholder for nearly two decades until stepping down in 2017. He also recently stepped down as chairman of the board.
Flaster’s name partner Stephen Greenberg said the mass departure, which he has known about for months, is “kind of old news” for his firm.
“We’ve been working over the last several months on transition so this is not an unexpected thing that happened in the middle of the night on New Year’s Eve,” he said. “Most of the departed lawyers were with the firm for a very long time and I wish them very well, we all do. We’re never going to disparage them in any way.
“They added an awful lot to our firm, some of them for 30 years. As with any relationship, sometimes they go in different directions, and I presume that’s what’s happened here,” Greenberg said.
Flaster is also experiencing growth. Last week, the firm announced that at least four patent law attorneys would be joining the group. More will be announced soon, Greenberg said.
“We have over 50 lawyers, so losing six doesn’t really do much, especially when we’re replacing them with more,” Greenberg said. “The replacements will exceed the departures.”
In all, given the attorneys’ long history with each other and their geographic proximity—shared walls in Cherry Hill—both Greenberg and Spirgel expressed that Flaster and Lex Nova may work together in the future.
“I’m hopeful that where there’s no overlap, we will have a chance to continue to work together,” Greenberg said.
“I wouldn’t rule out anything in that regard,” Spirgel said. “I have no ill will.”