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LA Litigation Firm Launches 1st East Coast Office In NY

November 26, 2013

Law360, New York (November 22, 2013, 2:03 PM ET) — Los Angeles-based Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP has launched its first East Coast location with an outpost in White Plains, N.Y., after landing a six-attorney commercial litigation team from Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, the firm announced Thursday.

The team is headed by veteran trial attorney and former Wilson Elser partner Michael W. Coffey, who will serve as managing partner of Wood Smith’s New York office, which will be the litigation firm’s 14th location in the U.S. Joining him as newly minted partners at Wood Smith are Tracy J. Abatemarco and James P. Tyrie, as well as three other associate attorneys, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Eva Zajkowski and Nino Caridi — all of whom were previously with Wilson Elser.

Coffey focuses on the defense of professional liability, general liability and casualty, and commercial litigation matters, the firm said. He has represented Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s largest insurance carriers in the U.S. A former assistant district attorney in the Brooklyn district Attorney’s office, Coffee has tried more than 100 cases to verdict. He currently is serving a second consecutive appointment to the Fire Commission for the city of Norwalk, Conn., and previously was elected to two terms as president of the Norwalk City Council.

Coffey told Law360 on Friday that he was excited to make the move and help Wood Smith further its national footprint after having built a solid reputation on the West Coast as a highly respected litigation firm.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to go over to an established, progressive cutting-edge firm that is working to expand into a national footprint,” he said. “I was every excited about the opportunity to do that.”

Additionally, the firm plans to launch a midtown Manhattan location early next year, which likely will be staffed by members of the White Plains team at first, Coffey said.

“We’re going to service the New York metropolitan area, all of New York and Connecticut and New Jersey,” he said. “WSHB has fantastic litigators and being someone who does a lot of high-end, high-impact litigation, I’m happy to be with them because they’re a terrific set.”

Wood Smith managing partner Daniel A. Berman said in a Thursday statement that the primarily West Coast-based firm expanded east in response to client demand for high-caliber litigation experience in the region.

“Our new additions are top shelf trial lawyers who bring their exceptional and prestigious litigation experience to WSHB,” Berman said. “As with all our offices, this expansion was driven by requests from the clients who needed experienced trial lawyers who can deliver results. We are pleased with the team we have assembled and are thrilled as we expand from a West Coast firm to one national in scope and coverage.”

Rounding out the partnership team in White Plains are Abatemarco, who focuses her practice on lead paint, mold, and toxic tort and construction litigation for clients including financial institutions and real estate owners and managers, and Tyrie, who focuses his litigation practice on the defense of premises security, toxic tort, construction and general liability claims.

Wood Smith now has 14 offices with the addition of the White Plains location. The firm’s other offices are spread along the West Coast, including in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New York, Oregon and Washington. Founded in 1997, the firm specializes in commercial, construction, environmental, professional liability, employment, real estate, transportation, toxic tort and intellectual property litigation.

–Editing by Richard McVay

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