Seyfarth Shaw LLP announced the arrival of a group of four partners to the firm’s Litigation department in Boston. Partners William Berkowitz, John Skelton, James McGrath and Brandon Bigelow have joined from Bingham McCutchen LLP, where Berkowitz and McGrath served as co-chairs of Bingham’s Distribution and Franchise practice group. Berkowitz also previously served as co-chair of Bingham’s global Antitrust and Trade Regulation practice group.

With nearly 90 years of combined litigation experience, the group focuses on representing manufacturers and franchisors in disputes with their dealers and franchisees, as well as counseling clients on antitrust compliance issues and antitrust aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Representing clients from a variety of industries, including manufacturing, real estate and retail, the group has significant experience counseling U.S. and foreign automotive manufacturers.

“We are delighted to have this exceptional group of commercial litigators join us. In addition to adding depth to our commercial litigation bench locally and nationally, they will greatly expand our distribution, franchise and antitrust capabilities,” said Katherine Perrelli, chair of Seyfarth’s Litigation department. “Their practices align very well with our Litigation department’s national footprint and we see many opportunities to grow client relationships across our platform.”

“Beyond enhancing our litigation platform, this group also shares our passion for innovation and analytics,” said Russell B. Swapp, managing partner of Seyfarth’s Boston office. “We believe our SeyfarthLean service delivery model is unparalleled in the market and will immediately deliver an enhanced value proposition for their clients.”

“It’s exciting to welcome a group of trial lawyers who are so well-respected and well-recognized in Boston, and nationally, for their work counseling and litigating matters at the state and federal levels,” said Ariel Cudkowicz, associate managing partner of Seyfarth’s Boston office.

“In addition to its outstanding talent pool, Seyfarth has developed a highly innovative, market-leading platform for the efficient delivery of legal services,” said Bill Berkowitz. “The firm is way ahead of the curve technologically, and our clients will reap both immediate and long-term benefits from that.”

The group is joined by three additional lawyers from Bingham: associates Caleb Schillinger and Katherine Moskop in Boston and staff attorney Ardrelle Bahar, who joins Seyfarth’s Washington, D.C. office.

About the New Partners

William Berkowitz focuses his practice on antitrust, franchise, distribution, mergers and acquisitions, and other commercial litigation. He has tried cases before state and federal courts and administrative agencies in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Beyond litigation, Berkowitz regularly consults with clients on compliance with federal and state antitrust laws, state franchise laws, the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and foreign premerger notification laws.  Berkowitz is described by Chambers USA as an “excellent lawyer and litigator” in antitrust, “in whom clients have a great deal of confidence,” and is listed in Best Lawyers in America (Franchise), “Super Lawyers” (Antitrust), and Benchmark Litigation (Massachusetts “Star”). He earned his B.S., cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School.

John Skelton is an experienced trial lawyer having tried cases and appeared before a variety of state and federal courts and administrative agencies. In addition to a diverse commercial litigation and trial practice, Skelton has successfully defended numerous manufacturers and franchise clients in a variety of matters, including terminations, challenges to the establishment and relocation of dealerships and other outlets, and the enforcement of operating standards.

Skelton’s practice includes complex commercial and contract disputes; franchisor-franchisee relationships; structuring dealer networks; distribution and trade regulation issues; creditor rights and bankruptcy litigation and complex product liability cases. Selected as the “Lawyer of the Year” for Franchise Law in Boston for 2014, Skelton has been named a Best Lawyer in America in Franchise Law for 2013-2015 and listed in “Super Lawyers” for Litigation. He earned his  B.A., cum laude, from Saint Anslem College, followed by work as police officer and training coordinator for the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Counsel. Skelton then earned his J.D., summa cum laude, from Western New England College, School of Law and served as law clerk to Associate Justice Neil L. Lynch of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

James McGrath focuses his practice on litigation and counseling related to complex commercial litigation, antitrust and trade regulation issues, and franchise and distribution matters. He is an experienced trial lawyer, having tried cases, argued appeals and appeared before a variety of state and federal courts and administrative agencies across the country.

In the franchise and distribution area, McGrath represents numerous manufacturers, distributors and trade organizations on a wide variety of matters, many involving the transportation industry. He also advises clients on various legislative issues affecting the motor vehicle industry. McGrath has been named a Best Lawyer in America in the area of Franchise Law and was selected as the “Lawyer of the Year” for Franchise Law in Boston for 2015. McGrath is also a member of the Greater Boston Board of Directors of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. McGrath earned his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his J.D., summa cum laude, from Boston College Law School.

Brandon Bigelow represents clients in complex commercial matters, including franchise disputes, software piracy claims, and antitrust and consumer class action litigation. He has appeared before state and federal courts on behalf of clients in a variety of industries, including software designers, motor vehicle and medical device manufacturers, hedge funds, broker-dealers, and pharmaceutical companies. He also counsels clients on compliance issues involving state and federal competition laws, including regulatory review of merger and acquisition transactions under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.

Bigelow also teaches as an adjunct professor of law at Boston College Law School. He is a vice chair of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law and a past co-chair of the Class Action Committee of the Boston Bar Association. He earned his B.A., cum laude, from Cornell University, followed by service as a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy. He then received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Boston College Law School and clerked for the Hon. Martha B. Sosman, Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

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