Hyland Levin Shapiro Celebrates 10 Years
Dear Clients and Friends,
Today we celebrate our ten-year anniversary as a firm. Hyland Levin LLP opened for business on July 1, 2009. At that time, US GDP was down 4.3% over the previous six quarters, the unemployment rate had risen to 9.5% in June, home prices had fallen 30%, and the S&P index had fallen 57%. What a great time to begin a new business enterprise! We were particularly ambitious, since eight of the eleven attorneys in our new firm were real estate, land use and environmental lawyers. At the time, commercial and residential real estate activity had essentially ceased. But, we believed in ourselves and our strong client relationships.
Fast forward to today and we are sixteen lawyers, two paralegals and a support staff of nine. We are actively recruiting those just coming out of law school and from judicial clerkships, as well as seasoned lateral partners. We extended the lease of our Marlton offices for another seven years and look to the future with great excitement. As Managing Partner of this firm, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to practice law with such a terrific and highly respected group of lawyers.
I have the privilege of coming to work every day and collaborating with the other four founding partners of the firm, Bill Hyland, Harvey Shapiro, Rich Hluchan and Mark Shapiro. These are four individuals practicing law at the very highest levels of ability, professionalism and integrity. Many of you receiving this email are fully aware of how these partners contribute to our civic, religious and charitable communities through their leadership, generosity and time. To give you just a brief glimpse into our founding partners’ accomplishments, during our ten year period, we have collectively held or currently hold the following positions: President of Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Board Chairman of Wiley Mission, President of the Saltzman Foundation, President of the Georgetown University Alumni Association, Board Trustees of the Virtua Foundation Board, Samson Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Camden County, and Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey.
We realized early on that if we were to fully support our clients, we needed to add a strong litigation team to the firm. Seven years ago, Peter Boyer, a highly experienced and well regarded commercial litigator, joined our firm. In addition to his active case load, Peter also serves as General Counsel to the firm. He shows extraordinarily good judgment when faced with delicate problems. Five years ago, David Dahan became a partner in the firm. I am fortunate to work with David on a variety of business disputes where the stakes are high, egos are off the charts and amicable resolutions seem unlikely. David is always well prepared, level headed and one step ahead of the other side.
No firm can survive without a next generation of talent working side by side with the more senior lawyers over a sustained period of time. We have a wonderful blend of both. Two of our associates, who have been with us from the very beginning, became partners. Lauren Beetle in 2013 and Bob Baranowski in 2016. Mark Shapiro will be the first to tell you that much of his extraordinary success as a real estate transactional lawyer is because Lauren Beetle is on his team. Lauren is also the ‘go to” deal lawyer for many of us in the firm. There is no one in our firm more committed to this firm’s success than Lauren. Bob’s practice has exploded (in the very best sense) in the past few years. Clients rave about his work, and it is a pleasure to observe his growth and development over the past ten years.
Stacy Asbell joined our firm in 2010 and has fit right in with the culture, temperament and commitment to excellence of the firm. Stacy became a partner in 2017. Bill Hyland says of Stacy, “She is the complete package; smart, practical, thorough and empathetic”. To me, one award captures the essence of Stacy Asbell: a few years ago, she received the John Adler Government Advocacy Mission Award for her work in advocating for those in need in South Jersey.
More recently, we have broadened the range of legal services to our clients. Julie Murphy joined us in 2017 and strengthened our finance-related services with her practice of advising financial institutions and other creditors in workouts, reorganizations and restructuring of defaulted credit facilities. Julie has made a seamless transition to our partnership and we are very fortunate to call her our partner. Daniella Gordon also joined us late in 2017 and brings an entirely new area of practice to the firm. Daniella defends clients who are facing criminal charges or are the subjects of criminal investigation by state or federal authorities. She is also an active trial lawyer representing businesses and individuals in civil commercial disputes, many of which are construction-related.
Our two most senior associates, David Gunther and Megan Knowlton Balne, personify our goals in developing associates for partnership. They have both set the bar so high, we have become spoiled when evaluating associate candidates. Megan is an integral part of our litigation team and a tireless advocate for her clients. Recently, Megan was honored with this year’s state-wide Professional Achievement Award by the New Jersey State Bar Association. David is extremely bright, hardworking and takes his clients’ problems home with him; just like the rest of us. David is a vital part of our business and franchise law teams.
Steve Geria joined us in 2015 and practices in the areas of succession planning and tax, estate planning and administration and corporate transactions. Steve works closely with Harvey Shapiro providing us with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the estate planning and estate administration areas. Will Hanna joined the firm in 2017 and has become the consummate utility player, straddling real estate transactions, community association matters and franchise law.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the contributions of a talented and loyal staff of assistants who exhibit the same qualities of intelligence, dedication and character as our attorneys. Our staff works diligently to further our clients’ goals. Our senior paralegals, Mary Alice Rogers and Patricia Wood, and our managers of office and financial operations, Audrey Edwards and Linda Stone, exemplify the professionalism and outstanding performance that make this firm what it is today.
Whether senior partner or newest associate, we are personally available to our clients at all times and furnish to each client the highest level of legal representation. These goals have served us well. Earlier this year we proudly changed the name of our firm to recognize Mark Shapiro’s exceptional contributions over the years. Thanks in large part to Mark’s efforts, today we are launching our firm’s new website – www.hylandlevin.com. We think you will find it easier to navigate. Please take a moment to learn more about us.
Finally, we thank each of you – our clients and friends. You are the reason we come to work every day. We never take that for granted.