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Former Boies Schiller Lawyers Form New Litigation Boutique (1)

Jan. 15, 2020, 5:09 PMUpdated: Jan. 15, 2020, 10:50 PM

A dozen former attorneys from Boies Schiller Flexner have bolted to form a litigation boutique in New York and Miami.

Roche Cyrulnik Freedman boasts a total of 15 lawyers, who have joined from Boies Schiller as well as Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Robins Geller Rudman & Dowd, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Its three name partners are Jason Cyrulnik, a former Boies Schiller equity partner, Kyle Roche, and Devin “Velvel” Freedman. Cyrulnik and Roche are based in New York, while Freedman is in Miami.

“To make a really great firm, you need great clients and cases and you need great lawyers. We’ve developed a model that attracts both of those things,” Freedman told Bloomberg Law.

The firm opened officially this month and aims to work on high-stakes litigation for plaintiffs and defendants, with focus on emerging areas like cannabis and cryptocurrency litigation.

It also seeks to attract and retain new lawyers with what Freedman called an “emphasis on transparency and rewarding business generation.”

Spinning Off

In moving to start Roche Cyrulnik Freedman, the lawyers leave one of the most prestigious litigation firms in Big Law. It was founded as something of a spin-off itself, when founder David Boies left Cravath, Swaine & Moore in 1997.

The firm he started has grown dramatically, but is now facing its own leadership transition as Boies ages. The firm, which confirmed this week that its closing one of its early offices in Orlando, is now operating under four managing partners.

In a statement provided to Bloomberg Law, one of the managing partners, Jonathan Schiller, said of the lawyers who left for Roche Cyrulnik Freedman, “We wish them well at their new firm.”

Freedman has “nothing but the best things to say” about Boies Schiller, but said he and Roche were looking to “forge our own way,” when they first left the firm six months ago.

Part of Roche Cyrulnik Freedman’s proposition to its lawyers is its compensation formula, which Roche said attracts lawyers who “want to bet on themselves.”

The founders said they use a formula without a discretionary element, and rewards attorneys based on factors like and business generation, litigation talent, and efficiency.

They said the system avoids the black box approach to pay, favored by some major Big Law firms. In that type of closed system managing attorneys or committees at a firm decide pay and do not share compensation information within the firm.

Emerging Areas

Roche Cyrulnik Freedman also seeks to be competitive in newer areas of the law, such as cryptocurrency and cannabis.

“One of the driving forces behind the firm is our expertise in emerging areas of the law,” said Roche.

The firm already is working on two notable cases cryptocurrency space, Kleiman v. Wright, in the Southern District of Florida, and Leibowitz et al v. iFinex Inc. et al in the Southern District of New York.

It’s also working with public companies in the cannabis sector on business disputes.

The firm aims to offer clients a range of funding approaches, including contingency fees for defense and plaintiff-side work as well as funding through accepting startup equity and litigation financing.

Some Big Law firms have resisted flexible fees, despite corporate clients’ requests for alternatives to the billable hour.

Whether it’s in the ability to be creative with cases or to be flexible with clients, “the theme is maximize,” said Ted Normand, a longtime Boies Schiller lawyer who recently joined Roche Cyrulnik Freedman.

(Adds information throughout from interviews with Normand, Roche, and Freedman.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at sskolnik@bloomberglaw.com;Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com;

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