Midsize Hot List Spotlight: Goldberg Segalla's Richard Cohen

The National Law Journal

Goldberg Segalla wants attorneys with giant books of business, but they better not have an ego to match. Richard Cohen, managing partner of the Buffalo, N.Y., firm said that Goldberg Segalla has grown from seven to 110 litigators in the past nine years under the guiding philosophy that no single attorney is better than the firm as a whole. He learned from experience. He started his career at WolfBlock and worked at Buffalo's Saperston & Day before helping found Goldberg Segalla in 2001. Both of his old firms are gone, largely, he said, because they lacked cohesiveness. "They were broken," he said.

Goldberg Segalla is humming along just fine. Clients for the litigation firm include Mattel Inc., Limited Brands Inc., General Electric Co., and Quaker Oats. The law firm has 11 offices, including seven in New York and others in Hartford, Conn.; Philadelphia; and Princeton, N.J.

It also is defending the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in personal injury cases related to the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. In March, it defended Mercedes-Benz in a case alleging that a design defect caused a vehicle to catch fire, causing serious damage. The jury took an hour to clear the automaker. — Leigh Jones

See the full list of firms honored in 2010 Midsize Hot List.

Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger's litigation department has spent years attempting to sever its dependence on the firm's superstar rainmaker, Bertram Fields. That effort is starting to pay off.

Two partners at the firm, Bonnie Eskenazi and Robert Chapman, scored significant victories in court for Greenberg Glusker during the past year. Eskenazi represented the heirs to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, in a $150 million profit-participation action against New Line Cinema Corp., now owned by Time Warner Inc. Chapman obtained a nearly $105 million verdict for the city of New York in a trial against Exxon Mobil Corp.

The Tolkien heirs and the city of New York are among several clients who have come to the firm independently of Fields, who just turned 81.

NLJ reporter Amanda Bronstad spoke with Eskenazi about how the firm has stepped out of the shadow of a giant.

See the NLJ's profile of Greenberg Glusker and four other firms that have established strong niche practices in our Litigation Boutiques special report.