Berchem Moses Adds Eight Attorneys To Roster

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Partners at Berchem, Moses & Devlin took a direct approach when they set out to grow their market share among municipal, education and employment law practices. First, they identified lawyers who were widely respected in their communities and recruited them. They also put ads in newspapers and online in search of top talent.

The final result: Berchem Moses, with offices in Milford and Westport, has increased its attorney head count by 20 percent, growing to 40 lawyers from 32 as of last week.

The firm, which has long been a fixture in the top 20 of the Law Tribune's yearly ranking of Connecticut law firms, appears likely to move up the list.

"I think we were about the 16th or 17th largest firm in the state, so this moves us up a notch," said Ira Bloom, managing partner of the Westport office. "In Connecticut, we are certainly one of the larger firms now."

Berchem Moses is the second large firm in Connecticut to make an aggressive growth move this year. In January, Waterbury-based Carmody & Torrance and its 62 attorneys merged with the 15-lawyer Stamford firm of Sandak Hennessey & Greco. The new 77-lawyer entity is known as Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey.

Berchem Moses took another approach to growth. Instead of one big merger, it plucked eight lawyers from various practices around the state. First off, it absorbed the father-son Norwalk firm of Kimmel & Kimmel.

Eugene Kimmel, who is moving over to Berchem Moses as senior counsel, launched his firm in 1965. His son, Gregory Kimmel, now a senior partner at Berchem Moses, joined about 17 years ago. Their firm concentrated on real estate transactions, divorce and family law issues, personal injury matters and criminal law.

The small firm's good reputation in the Norwalk area, along with its range of practice areas, prompted Berchem Moses to make the Kimmels an offer, Bloom said.

"They approached us over the summer," Greg Kimmel said. "It was something we had discussions about for several months and we decided in the end this was the right move."

While it was difficult to walk away from a law firm that was in the family for 40 years, the benefits of merging outweighed any downside, Greg Kimmel said. "We're gaining in other areas of practice as [Berchem Moses] has, so we can do different things. Plus, you gain the expertise and support of having a large office behind you."

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