The financial meltdown has crippled a lot of law practices, but for Andrew Sandler, it’s created a boom in business. As head of the consumer financial services enforcement and litigation practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, he’s devoted much of the past year to defending banking and lending clients against litigation stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis. But after 22 years at Skadden, Sandler is now striking out on his own, combining his practice with D.C. boutique Buckley Kolar to form financial services firm BuckleySandler. The new firm opened its doors today.
Sandler and Buckley are co-chairmen of the new firm. Skadden partner Benjamin Klubes is joining Sandler, and eventually, Sandler says he hopes that “much of our team will choose to join us.” Sandler says BuckleySandler will have about 50 lawyers, mostly based in D.C., with some in Los Angeles and New York. Buckley Kolar had 36 lawyers, and there are five lawyers remaining in Sandler’s former practice at Skadden, according to the firm’s Web site.
Prior to combining with Sandler, Buckley Kolar focused on regulatory work for financial services clients. Sandler brings litigation and enforcement capability. Both he and Klubes are currently representing Wells Fargo N.A. in a suit brought by the City of Baltimore that alleges the bank engaged in predatory lending in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods. They are also defending GMAC-RFC, Merrill Lynch, and Bear Stearns & Co. in similar subprime-related litigation brought by the City of Cleveland.
Sandler did not specify which clients will move with him to the new firm, but says, “I expect to bring a substantial part of my practice with me.”
Michael Rogan, head of Skadden’s Washington office, says, “We will continue to have an active practice,” and emphasizes that lawyers across the firm’s offices are involved in the work.
Sandler says, “Skadden will continue to be the strongest large firm practice in D.C. … I absolutely expect that BuckleySandler will become the strongest smaller boutique firm in D.C.”