Quarles & Brady expands into California by combining with San Diego-based firm

Last updated on December 23rd, 2022 at 01:06 pm

Milwaukee-based law firm Quarles & Brady LLP announced today that it is combining with San Diego-based law firm Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP.

Of the two firms, Quarles is significantly larger with 500 attorneys in 10 U.S. offices, compared to Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton, which has 30 attorneys in San Diego.

The combination of the two firms will be effective on Jan. 1.

Founded in 1998, Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton is a management-side labor and employment law firm. Quarles says its combination with the firm strengthens its Labor & Employment Practice Group.

The move also gives Quarles its first office in California. It does have offices in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

“We have had a California strategy in play for a long time – driven by the interests of our clients and attorneys, as well as the significant business potential in the region – but we only wanted to enter the market with a best-in-class partner,” said Michael Aldana, firm managing partner and chair of the executive committee at Quarles & Brady. “We found that in Paul, Plevin, a firm with a signature practice area, a strong and cohesive institutional history, and an iconic California brand. Just as important to us, however, are the relationships we’ve formed along the way, which have reinforced our shared values and cultures that guide how we serve our clients, colleagues and communities.”

Paul, Plevin’s lawyers advise and defend employers in a range of matters, including those involving discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour compliance, employee mobility, whistleblowing and retaliation, and unfair competition and trade secrets. It has represented clients in jury trials, appeals, class actions, arbitrations and agency proceedings – and regularly counsels on labor management relations, conducts employment-related audits and provides workplace training.

“In our firm’s nearly 25 years, we have grown strategically while maintaining our collaborative culture and high standards of excellence,” said founder partner Joe Connaughton. “The Quarles culture is grounded in the same traits that have been essential to our success. The opportunity to combine with a firm that shares our commitment to delivering superior services to clients at a great value, as well as investing in the growth of its talent, was too good to pass up. With a 130-year history of providing extraordinary legal representation and a national network of smart legal minds, we are excited about the many opportunities the Quarles platform brings to our clients and our people.”

Attorneys from Paul, Plevin will play a significant role in the combined firm’s leadership. Sandy McDonough – who is currently Paul, Plevin’s managing partner – will co-chair the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, along with Sean Scullen, who is currently national chair of the Quarles Labor & Employment Practice Group. Connaughton will serve on the firm’s governing executive committee and founding partner Fred Plevin will be office managing partner in San Diego. The combined firm’s Labor & Employment team will now have more than 70 attorneys across the country.

In California, the combined firm will operate under the name Paul Plevin Quarles through 2024.

“In joining forces with Quarles’ exceptional Labor & Employment group and multi-practice team, we’ve created a sophisticated offering for delivering both premium services for high stakes matters like national class actions and trusted day-to-day advice on workplace issues,” said McDonough. “This is especially important now, given that the volume, urgency and complexity of this legal work has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic. I couldn’t be more excited to enter this next phase in our firm’s journey.”

“We’re thrilled to start working with our new colleagues and bring together our respective resources and approaches to benefit our clients and team members,” said Brad Vynalek, firm president at Quarles. “This combination further differentiates and empowers both our firms in the marketplace, and we look forward to laying the foundation for continued growth in California and further building on Paul, Plevin’s success across the state.”

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.