New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island
Law Firm Website Design Companies : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

McCarter & English has spent the past five years aggressively expanding its reach along the eastern seaboard, following a growth plan spearheaded by firm Chairman Andrew T. Berry and managing partner Lois M. Van Deusen from its central office in Newark, N.J.

Now the firm is expanding in a different manner. With Van Deusen retiring after 29 years at the firm, management reins for the first time are being handed to a non-Newark attorney. Partner Eric Watt Wiechmann, in the firm's Hartford, Conn., office, recently was named deputy managing partner. He is scheduled to replace Van Deusen on Oct. 1.

Wiechmann's rise to the top of the 416-lawyer firm began when he joined McCarter's executive committee immediately after he and Berry orchestrated the firm's 2003 acquisition of 30 lawyers from Stamford, Conn.-based Cummings & Lockwood, the firm for which Wiechmann served as managing partner in its Hartford office. Wiechmann was appointed to McCarter's compensation committee approximately six months later.

Last month, McCarter's executive committee voted Wiechmann to be Van Deusen's successor. Berry will remain as chairman, a position he's held since 1997. In that role, Berry is still able to devote roughly 80 percent of his time to his insurance litigation practice for well-known clients such as Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Wiechmann, who turns 59 this year, said he will temporarily suspend his products liability practice in order to manage the firm full time. He noted that he might return to active practice after his stint as managing partner, a term that lasts three years with the opportunity to serve longer, he said.

Though excited about guiding a firm in the midst of a growth spurt, Wiechmann said his desire to continue trying cases makes the move somewhat bittersweet. "You don't do something this long [33 years] for the money," Wiechmann said. "I've done it because I love being a trial lawyer."

Though Wiechmann will spend more time traveling to and from Newark and McCarter's seven other offices, Hartford will be his home base "for the time being," he said.


Van Deusen, who has worked for no other firm since her admission to the bar in 1978, became McCarter's first full-time managing partner in 2002 when she transitioned away from her active high-end real estate investment practice and her primary client, Prudential.

At that time, Van Deusen was "one of a small handful of women in the country who was managing partner of a law firm with more than 250 people," Berry said.

"She always conceived it would be her last job with the law firm. It was her choice [to retire], not ours," he noted. "[Managing partner] is a tough job, and she's done it well for five years."

Van Deusen, who spent five years as a grade school teacher before entering law school in the early 1970s, said she decided two years ago to retire at the end of the 2007 fiscal year. Though she has no definitive plans for retirement, outside of traveling, she said she will remain active as a board member for organizations such as the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Habitat for Humanity in Newark.

"I'm sure after this high-powered, stressful existence it will be a challenge to slow down," Van Deusen said.

Easing into retirement was no stroll into the sunset for Van Deusen. She took over as managing partner at a time when McCarter was on the verge of its growth spurt. As the firm redefined itself, attorneys were required to streamline their practice into a single discipline, or two complementing ones, rather than multiple practice areas, Van Deusen said. At the same time, McCarter's compensation structure became merit-based, and attorneys were broken of the mind-set that the firm's offices operated independently; instead, Van Deusen noted, practice groups began to cross over state lines as the firm expanded its reach.

McCarter acquired Boston-based Gadsby Hannah last June and now operates offices in Boston, Hartford, Stamford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Wilmington, Del. The changes "made us more modern and nimble," Van Deusen said. Washington, D.C., is the next likely market destination, Van Deusen indicated, before the firm sets its eyes westward.

The firm's expansion under Berry and Van Deusen created the right opportunity for McCarter to consider a managing partner who was located outside of New Jersey, Berry said.

"Our first managing partner had to be home-grown, so to speak, just for the emotional part of things," he noted.

Wiechmann said that under his management the firm will remain focused on expanding practice areas and markets. "We're always looking to grow," he noted, "but nothing has developed to the point that I can discuss it."

Legal News | Breaking News | Terms & Conditions | Privacy

ⓒ Breaking Legal News. All Rights Reserved.

The content contained on the web site has been prepared by BLN as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case. Affordable law firm web design company
   More Legal News
   Legal Spotlight
   Exclusive Commentaries
   Attorney & Blog - Blog Watch
   Law Firm News  1  2  3  4  5  6 
   Lawyer & Law Firm Links
Car Accident Lawyers
Sunnyvale, CA Personal Injury Attorney
Family Law in East Greenwich, RI
Divorce Lawyer, Erica S. Janton
Oregon DUI Law Attorney
Eugene DUI Lawyer. Criminal Defense Law
New York Adoption Lawyers
New York Foster Care Lawyers
Adoption Pre-Certification
Chicago, Naperville IL Workers' Compensation Lawyers
Chicago Workplace Injury Attorneys
Raleigh, NC Business Lawyer
Lorain Elyria Divorce Lawyer
Connecticut Special Education Lawyer
Los Angeles Immigration Documents Service
New Vision Immigration
St. Louis Missouri Criminal Defense Lawyer
St. Charles DUI Attorney
Employer Defense Attorney
Gardena Labor Law Defense Lawyers
   More Legal News  1  2  3  4  5  6
   Legal News Links
  Click The Law
  Daily Bar News
  The Legal Report
  Legal News Post
  Crisis Legal News
  Legal News Journal
  Korean Web Agency
  Law Firm Directory