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A group of five attorneys comprising the entirety of Carroll McNulty & Kull's New Jersey-based medical malpractice defense unit has moved over to DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin.

As of Nov. 1, partners Catherine Flynn and Michael Moroney, along with associates Paul Miller, Randall Watts and Stefanie Rokosz, joined DeCotiis FitzPatrick in Teaneck. All five retained the same titles in the move.

The additions double the health care practice at DeCotiis FitzPatrick, whose four existing attorneys handle "mostly regulatory and physician licensing issues," according to Frank Borin, a member of the firm's executive committee.

Flynn and Moroney had joined Basking Ridge-based Carroll McNulty in late 2013, and the associates came on incrementally since then. The group's main client, Trinitas Hospital and related entities, went along in the move.

"Obviously, anytime you can bring in new clients and a steady stream of work, it's a good thing," Borin said in an interview. "I felt, and the other partners here felt, that it was a good complement to our existing practice."

Borin noted that the group brings in new streams of work-getting case referrals from the Medical Society of New Jersey, and the American Medical Association, and doing some leasing work on behalf of the AMA itself.

DeCotiis FitzPatrick leadership had not been hunting for a medical malpractice group, but began considering the deal after Borin recently met Flynn through a mutual acquaintance, according to him and Flynn. They both declined to name the acquaintance.

Flynn in an interview cited the "opportunity to expand" at DeCotiis FitzPatrick, because the client bases have complementary needs.

"There was name recognition among our clients," she added. "Reputationally, the DeCotiis name went a long way."

Moroney said the group was happy at Carroll McNulty and was not looking for a new landing place. "We actually had to wrestle with it, because we did enjoy being at Carroll McNulty."

Flynn, Moroney and Borin all declined to discuss the new group's hourly rates.

The additions bring DeCotiis FitzPatrick's firmwide lawyer head count to 69, Borin said, noting that the firm also has 10 paralegals. The firmwide head count had been closer to 80 around 2008, according to Law Journal data. Borin said the firm is not looking to grow aggressively.

"Slow and steady is probably a better way of growing. ... We're not out there using headhunters," Borin said.

Carroll McNulty managing partner Gary Kull said his firm still has lawyers handling medical malpractice and health care work in its New York office. The firm in April 2014 absorbed nine-lawyer firm Wenick & Finger of Manhattan, a firm handling medical malpractice and liability work on behalf of New York-based FOJP Service Corp., which covers hospitals, long-term care facilities and social service agencies.

It was an acquisitive time for Carroll McNulty, which was founded in 1997 and is built on insurance-related practices. In July 2013, the firm opened a Philadelphia office with seven insurance coverage and defense lawyers from Christie, Pabarue & Young in that city. Within months, the firm also opened in Chicago with 10 laterals from two firms doing insurance work: six lawyers from Cozen O'Connor's Chicago office, and four from the Chicago office of Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson. Also in 2013, the firm launched its health care group with the additions of Flynn and Moroney, who had been with Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby in Newark.

Accounting for the departures, Carroll McNulty's firmwide lawyer head count is about 90.

Medical malpractice "is right in our wheelhouse," but the firm is "not affirmatively looking" to replace the group right now, Kull said.

"If the right opportunity came around, that would be something we would look at," Kull added.

In terms of firm revenue, "we're having a good year," and "this doesn't impact anything until next year," Kull said. "They've left, but there's a lot of money in the pipeline that has to be paid by the client."

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