Karolina Dehnhard and David Tawil join Norris McLaughlin PA in Bridgewater as members, thus reviving the firm’s matrimonial and family law departments. They will also debut the firm’s Short Hills office, nearby their former firm Budd Larner.
Dehnhard and Tawil specialize in family and matrimonial law matters, including divorce actions, prenuptial agreements, child custody, parenting time, alimony, child support and domestic violence issues.
Additionally, they handle same-gender and international custody matters, post-judgment motions, as well as complex business valuation and high net-worth divorces.
Dehnhard will serve as chair. She called running the matrimonial practice at Norris McLaughlin “the opportunity of lifetime.”
“Of the last eight years I’ve spent the last four years building my book, and when Norris offered me the opportunity to chair and build the mat group, it seemed like the a natural next step.”
Jeralyn Lawrence, who used to run Norris McLaughlin’s matrimonial law group, spun off to start her own firm in Watchung in January.
“We’ve worked together on legislation in the past and definitely been adversaries in court,” Dehnhard said of Lawrence. “Stepping into her shoes has been an opportunity for me because she certanly leaves a legacy behind.”
Norris’s international presence, she said, also appealed to her. Dehnhard was born in Poland and is fluent in the language. Many of her clients are international, and many have needs beyond divorce that a full-service firm like Norris can address.
“Everybody at Norris has the same zest for growth and working together and cross-referring. Cross-referring [across practice areas] is huge,” she said. “What an opportunity to build our books of business.”
This exit is another in a string of recent exits from Budd Larner. Earlier this month, 19 people in the firm’s intellectual property practice left for Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP. Corporate and securities lawyer James Fitzsimmons left Budd Larner for Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Florham Park.
Budd Larner had the biggest decline on NJBIZ’s Top 50 Law Firm’s list this year, falling 13 spots from 23 to 36 with the loss of 20 attorneys, many of whom left with former managing partner and executive committee member Joseph Schiavone, who joined Saiber LLC’s insurance and reinsurance group in September 2018.
“It’s definitely always concerning when you see people leaving, [starting] with Joe Schiavone in September,” Dehnhard said. “I built my career at Budd Larner, and I wasn’t looking to leave but when the opportunity came, and certainly when the departure of the other executive committee members occurred, I felt it was the right move.”
Budd Larner has not responded to a request for comment.
Norris McLaughlin’s new Short Hills office is located at 51 John F. Kennedy Parkway.