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Updated: August 4, 2022

Verrill adds lateral litigation hires from another Portland law firm

Scott Anderson standing in front of law books Photo/ Jim Neuger Scott Anderson, managing partner at Verrill, said the Portland-based law firm is seeing an uptick in litigation work and needs to invest in that practice area.

Less than two months after Scott Anderson took the helm as Verrill's managing partner, the Portland-based law firm added three litigators and two staff members who left another, smaller Portland law firm, Lambert Coffin.

The new attorney hires are Philip Coffin, whose practice focuses on civil litigation with an emphasis on the defense of physicians, hospitals, nurses and other health care providers; Jeffrey Russell, who represents individuals and large national companies across various industries; and Cyrus Cheslak, with clients in a wide range of civil litigation and professional liability matters.

“The opportunity to add talented lawyers like Phil, Jeff and Cyrus only comes along once in a great while. We are thrilled to add even more depth to Verrill’s already deep litigation and trial bench,” said John Giffune, co-chair of Verrill’s litigation and trial group.

The exits leave Lambert Coffin, a general practice law firm now doing business as Lambert Rudman, with two attorneys, John Lambert and Samuel K. Rudman.

Lambert told Mainebiz via phone Thursday morning that the departures are "incredibly sad but amicable, and I'm thrilled that all of the staff found new jobs." He said he remains good friends with his former partner Coffin, with whom he worked for 40 years.

Lambert also said that while his firm had a plan in place for seven years to transition to a younger cohort, that plan didn't work out this spring.

"The plan had been for Lambert Coffin to go on forever," he said. He said he already greatly cut back on his hours, while Rudman plans to practice for another year or two.

To those who have left, Lambert said, "we wish everybody the best."

'Uptick' in litigation work

With the new recruits, Verrill now employs 51 trial professionals, including 45 litigation attorneys and litigation paralegals. At last count, the team had tried more than 600 jury and non-jury cases and handled several hundred arbitrations and thousands of mediations and administrative proceedings, according to a firm spokeswoman.

"As the courts have learned to grapple with COVID limitations, we are seeing an uptick in litigation work and a need to invest in this practice area," Scott Anderson, Verrill's managing partner, told Mainebiz.

"Also, as we pass the trading deadline in Major League Baseball, we are reminded that lateral movement continues, and many firms are on the hunt for talented attorneys with strong practices. We are thrilled that Phil, Jeff, Cyrus and their team have landed at Verrill.”

Anderson succeeded Keith (K.C.) Jones as Verrill's managing partner in late June, six months after the firm joined forces with Boston-based peer Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster to nearly double Verrill's Boston presence

Verrill, a full-service law firm with roots going back to 1862, employs around 140 attorneys and seven offices across the northeastern United States.

In a recent "On the Record" interview with Mainebiz, Anderson cited litigation as one of the firm's fastest-growing practice areas, along with health care and intellectual property. But he said the big focus is on industry sectors rather than internal practice groups, via multidisciplinary teams of attorneys and other professionals.

"We are finding ways to support all aspects of our clients’ businesses through our team approach," he said.

Verrill was ranked No. 5 in the most recent Mainebiz list of Maine's largest law firms, based on the number of Maine-based attorneys as of October 2021. Bernstein Shur leads that list, followed by Drummond Woodsum, Pierce Atwood, Preti Flaherty and then Verrill to round out the top five.

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