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Kasowitz Loses 15-Lawyer Real Estate Team to Vinson & Elkins (1)

April 8, 2019, 7:07 PMUpdated: April 8, 2019, 7:32 PM

Vinson & Elkins grabbed 15 real estate attorneys from Kasowitz Benson Torres, significantly beefing up its New York office.

“Expanding V&E’s breadth of practice in New York is an important part of our overall growth plan, and we are committed to strategically expanding here and across the firm,” Cliff Thau, co-head of its New York office, said in a statement.

The development is another setback for Kasowitz, which was knocked from the 2019 Vault 100 most prestigious law firm rankings last June.

A Kasowitz associate noted in the Vault rankings, for example, that the firm’s “reputation has been severely undermined because of association with” President Donald Trump.

Founder Marc E. Kasowitz was Trump’s personal lawyer before resigning in 2017.

But there’s no indication, however, that the change here was linked to that relationship or the firm’s fall from the Vault 100 prestige list.

“We have always been focused on being the preeminent litigation firm in the nation, and the departure of this transactional group has no impact on that core strength or our overall practice,” Kasowitz said in a statement.

The move brings to 40 the number of attorneys in Vinson & Elkins’ real estate practice group.

Partners Wallace Schwartz, Adam Endick, and Julia Sanabria brought along three counsel, nine associates and three paralegals from Kasowitz. Their client list includes names like Boston Properties, WeWork Companies, and Oxford Property Group.

Houston-based Vinson & Elkins has more than 700 attorneys in 13 offices worldwide.

(Adds Kasowitz statement in paragraph 6.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; John Crawley at