6-23-2023 - As seen on Law360.com - Woods Oviatt Merges With Rochester Real Estate Boutique

Posted on June 23, 2022

By Adrian Cruz | Jun 23, 2022, 2:57 PM EDT · Listen to article

Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP has announced that it will merge with real estate boutique Vaisey Nicholson & Nearpass PLLC, adding a team of eight attorneys in Rochester, New York.

The merger, which was announced Tuesday and will officially take effect at the start of July, will add six partners and two associates to Woods Oviatt's real estate team, bringing the firm's total attorney headcount to 109 across its two offices in Rochester and Buffalo.

Woods Oviatt managing partner Mitchell Nusbaum told Law360 on Wednesday that the merger was a natural fit for both sides, noting that their offices are even located across the street from each other.

"Woods Oviatt probably has the largest commercial real estate practice outside of New York City, and at the same time, V&N has a national REIT practice that works well with ours," he said. "We knew each other over the years and got to talking about how a combination would benefit our clients and lawyers, and we realized that together we create a market leader in the REIT practice while providing greater depth and breadth of services."

Nusbaum said the two firms started discussing a merger in 2019, but because of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the next year, they decided to hold off for a while until they could properly gauge how the demand for legal services would be affected.

"We reconnected toward the end of 2021, and we realized that all the basic reasons for us to merge were still in place," he said. "Both of our practices were thriving, and we picked up where we left off, just moved forward."

Nusbaum said the merger works well because of his firm's familiarity with the Vaisey Nicholson team and the shared values between the two sides, which made the challenges of integration a lot easier to manage.

"We started as a small firm, and over the years of growth we've been able to maintain the personalized service to clients at a family-oriented workplace where our employees don't tend to leave," he said. "This is a place that people built long-term careers at, and when we look at a merger, we try to find attorneys who can provide legal services our clients expect and preserve the special atmosphere we have."

Vaisey Nicholson managing partner Jeffrey Vaisey said his firm was actively searching for a merger partner because the demand for legal services was growing rapidly, and joining a larger firm was the quickest way to meet that increased demand.

"COVID-19 threw a bit of a curveball for everybody about appropriate staffing and size, and our business came back strong," he said. "We have a lot of work to do, and it just made sense to handle the growth and deal volume right out of the gate."

Vaisey added that joining a larger firm gives clients access to a wider range of services, allowing his team's attorneys to continue their specialty practices while being able to provide better legal support in more areas.

Vaisey Nicholson was founded in 2009 with a focus on complex real estate, finance, corporate and transactional matters. The firm consists of partners Jeffrey Vaisey, Michael Nicholson, Gregory Nearpass, Seth Weinstein, Collin Zundel and Jennifer Berrios, along with associate Caitlin Weinstock, and of counsel Adam Johnson.

Woods Oviatt was founded in 1852, and its 109 attorneys practice in a wide range of areas such as transactional and commercial corporate and tax, commercial real estate, finance, intellectual property, litigation, labor and employment, and trusts and estates.