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Fox Rothschild Expands into Chicago
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Fox Rothschild has hired four partners to launch its Chicago office.

Summary: Fox Rothschild has announced that it will open a Chicago office, starting the firm with four partners skilled in various areas of law.

According to The Legal Intelligencer, Fox Rothschild has stepped into the legal market in Chicago with the hire of four Nixon Peabody attorneys who practice in corporate law, litigation, gaming, and real estate. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the firm has been interested in Chicago for some time.

  
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Fox Rothschild has been growing in other parts of the country, such as Florida, Las Vegas, and Denver. However, the Chicago office is the first in the Midwest. Managing partner Mark Silow said that the firm is discussing opening other offices nationwide with other groups, although he did not elaborate as to where those offices would be.

Two Fox Rothschild attorney were accused of a bilking scam last year.

The attorneys, Donna B. More, David N. Tanner, William Bogot, and Jeffrey M. Friedman, not only have a significant amount of experience in gaming, but also in marijuana laws. The group represents one fifth of the licensed growers in Illinois, and has assisted both growers and dispensaries with business matters and compliance issues.

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More will lead the Chicago office. The four attorneys were previously with Ungaretti & Harris, which recently merged with Nixon Peabody.

Read about the firms’ merger here.



Nicholas Cassello Jr. is the chair of Fox Rothschild’s gaming practice. He recruited the team to join the firm. According to Silow, More and her team were interested in working for a firm that had a national platform to address the national and global focus of the gaming industry. Silow added that Fox Rothschild’s gaming practice has been one of the most dynamic practices in the firm over the past three years.

The attorneys were drawn to the firm because of its presence in gaming markets. More said, “As the gaming market expands and the needs of our clients evolve, joining a firm like Fox Rothschild, with a national presence and full-service scope, was the best fit for our clients. Fox has well-established and well-regarded gaming, litigation, corporate and real estate practices, and we are thrilled about the resources that this move brings to our team. We look forward to bringing the Fox name and brand to Chicago.”

Clockwise from top left: Friedman, Tanner, Bogot, More, and Silow.

Clockwise from top left: Friedman, Tanner, Bogot, More, and Silow.

More previously served as a U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, a state’s attorney in Cook County, and was the first chief legal counsel to the Illinois Gaming Board.

Silow said that the marijuana law practice was not a motivating factor for the deal, but that it was more of an added bonus. He added that the firm has done similar work for clients out of its Denver office. “Strategically, we think that this is a regulated industry, much like gaming, that is likely to increase and gain more traction in other states over time,” Silow explained.

The Chicago office will also have a corporate practice. Friedman and Tanner were co-chairs of the real estate capital markets practice when they worked at Ungaretti & Harris.

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The Chicago office is expected to expand quickly. Silow said that a former Washington, D.C. associate has telecommuted from Chicago for about a year since she moved for family reasons. She will also join the new office. Two to five additional partners will probably join the firm.

The deal with More and her team manifested fairly quickly. According to Silow, the two sides began discussing the possibility a couple months ago. Fox Rothschild employs around 600 attorneys, according to GlobalLegalPost.com.

Silow commented that the Chicago market is “fluid.” Last month, Cozen O’Conner was reported to be in discussions with Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson, a 70-lawyer Chicago firm. According to Silow, many firms are interested in mergers.

The focus on the legal implications of Illinois’ pilot medical marijuana legalization program has also gained the attention of those in the legal community. In September, Illinois began accepting patient registry applications for its Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. The state plans to issue 21 licenses to cultivate marijuana and 60 licenses to sell marijuana to qualifying companies.

A few attorneys from the Polsinelli law firm were interested. Teddy Scott Jr., the former head of the Chicago life sciences group, and partner John Leja formed PharmaCannis, a medical marijuana cultivation company. Jeremy Unruh, a former partner, has become the company’s general counsel.

Many Chicago firms have created cannabis practices, and many other firms are warming up to the idea of representing clients in the industry.

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Legal marijuana has been said to be the country’s fastest growing industry.

Source: The Legal Intelligencer

Photo credit: seniorlawcenter.org, chicagobusiness.com (More), uhlaw.com (Friedman, Bogot, Tanner), media.philly.com (Silow)



 

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