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New deal platform

The former McElroy Deutsch health care group joins Greenbaum Rowe

Nine lawyers from McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP have joined Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP to form a new health care law group at the firm.

Most of the group is made up of lawyers that previously practiced at boutique health care law firm Kalison, McBride, Jackson & Robertson of Warren, which McElroy & Deutsch acquired in 2011.

The group is chaired by Jim Robertson, and includes partners Robert Hille, John Kaveney, and Glenn Prives; counsels Paul Croce, Megan George, and Neil Sullivan; and of counsels John Zen Jackson and Andrew McBride.

McElroy Deutsch acquired Kalison McBride at a time of consolidation in the industry when, Robertson said, it “became clear [the group] needed a bigger platform.” Moving into Greenbaum Rowe is refining that platform, he said.

Jim Robertson; partner and department chair, Health Care; McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP.

Robertson

“We determined the business opportunity was greater at Greenbaum given our practice and what Greenbaum does. Greenbaum is an entrepreneurial model, and midmarket companies [are] their specialty. It does a lot of merger and acquisition work. Especially because we’re seeing more health care private equity transactions occurring in the marketplace, it better fits us to service our clients to have that kind of business perspective and those skillsets. I think it makes sense. We’re hoping that one and one equals three,” Robertson said.

Acquisitions in New Jersey’s health care sector regularly make headlines. In October, Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth signed a letter of intent to merge with RWJBarnabas Health, and later that week Englewood Hospital and Medical Center announced it would begin operating under the Hackensack Meridian Health brand. In December, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System and RWJBarnabas Health announced they were exploring a potential partnership.

Robertson said his team gets brought in for such health care mergers, and also by private equity firms, portfolio companies and companies that are being acquired when private equity takes an interest in health care. They started getting involved in such transactions a few years ago, and it was Greenbaum Rowe’s active mergers and acquisitions practice and extensive private equity contacts that enticed the group to join its ranks.

“They have contacts that we don’t have in the private equity world. We have contacts in the health care world that Greenbaum didn’t have. Now, you marry those two, and there’s an opportunity to explode,” said Robertson.

Without naming names, Robertson said that his team has represented every hospital in New Jersey and “many, many, many physicians groups.”

From left, John Kaveney, partner; Andrew McBride III, of counsel; Robert Hille, partner; Neil Sullivan, counsel; Paul Croce, counsel; Megan George, counsel; John Zen Jackson, of counsel; James Robertson, partner and department chair; and Glenn Prives, partner. - GREENBAUM ROWE

From left, John Kaveney, partner; Andrew McBride III, of counsel; Robert Hille, partner; Neil Sullivan, counsel; Paul Croce, counsel; Megan George, counsel; John Zen Jackson, of counsel; James Robertson, partner and department chair; and Glenn Prives, partner. – – GREENBAUM ROWE

Greenbaum Rowe Co-Managing Partner Ray Felton chairs the firm’s corporate department, which handles mergers and acquisitions. In the past, he represented a consumer products company in the $75 million sale of its business to a private equity firm and a sign manufacturing business in its $115 million acquisition by a buyout firm. In the health care arena, he represented an endoscopy practice in its $7.5 million acquisition by a major hospital.

“We’ve done some health care work, but not in this breadth,” Felton said. “These are people that obviously have a lot of experience and expertise and are well known within the health care community as a quality group of lawyers who serve that community. While not totally brand new for Greenbaum, [adding a health care practice group] is a major, major step forward in being able to provide legal advice to health care industry.”

Health care is a big slice of New Jersey’s economy, and the economy of the nation as a whole, Felton noted.

“By getting them on, we have that capability and be able to serve that aspect of the New Jersey business community and New Jersey economy in a more fulsome way,” he said.

The firm has been in talks with the group since the third quarter of 2019, gaining an understanding of how each other operates and what each has to offer.

Of his former team’s departure, McElroy Deutsch Managing Partner Ed Deutsch said, “[t]he underlying dynamics of a large law firm like ours, consisting of many specialized practice groups, will always involve transitions to and from other firms, as well as creation of new firms. We thank those who have left for their work on behalf of our clients in the past, and we wish them well. MDM&C will continue to provide exemplary legal services to our clients in the health care industry.”

The health care group’s first official day at Greenbaum Rowe was Feb. 10.

‘Careful, cautious’ expansion

The addition of this group is part of Greenbaum’s greater growth strategy. It opened an office in Holmdel in September and has brought on multiple partners in recent months, including Christopher Adams in the litigation department in September, Barbara Koonz in the environmental department in December, and Frank Louis and Jeanette Russell in the family law department in February.

Felton said the firm, which when he started 40 years ago was primarily focused on real estate and litigation, has been “constantly looking to add practice areas” in recent years as it grew into a full-service firm.

Greenbaum Rowe Co-Managing Partner Ray Felton

Felton

“We’re trying to apply to a broader array of clients. Naturally, as the world has evolved and as the economy has evolved and the practice of law has evolved, there’s a need for more specialties among clients. Whether it’s environmental or intellectual property or health care or any one of a myriad of things, to appeal to a broader array of clients, we need a broader array of services we provide,” Felton said.

He added that he hopes that the firm will be able to capitalize on similar opportunities in the future with the “careful, cautious” addition of new attorneys and practice groups. With the addition of the health care group, he has high hopes for the firm.

“If you’re going to do [M&A work] in the health care area, you need more knowledge than I certainly have or anyone in our firm has of the health care industry and the various aspects of health care law that play into that. By marrying up the skills, the experience, and the team [the corporate group] has, by taking that expertise and by combining it with the health care knowledge and expertise that this new group has, we think we present a very full offering to prospective clients. Along with the other supporting things, because if you’re in the M&A world, you need the environmental, the tax, the intellectual property expertise—if you’re buying and selling a business, it involves all those aspects. I think we’re going to be able to present ourselves to the decision makers the health care industry as a firm that’s really been able to do a first-class job in health care M&A.”

Of the new group, he said, “We’re very excited, and we think they’re very excited. But now there’s no ‘we’ and ‘they.’ It’s ‘us.’”

Gabrielle Saulsbery
Albany, N.Y. native Gabrielle Saulsbery is a staff writer for NJBIZ and the newest thing in New Jersey. You can contact her at gsaulsbery@njbiz.com.

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