The mortgage banking and consumer finance team at Washington-based Brownstein Zeidman & Lore has bolted en masse to a much larger law firm.

Laurence E. Platt, Phillip L. Schulman, Thomas J. Noto, six other lawyers, and four compliance experts this month joined the Washington office of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, a Pittsburgh firm with a strong presence inside the capital beltway.

Mr. Platt, Mr. Shulman, and Mr. Noto will be partners at the firm.

Mr. Platt is one of the nation's most visible lawyers serving the mortgage banking industry. He is a frequent speaker on legal issues related to the industry and has written several articles on mortgage banking for American Banker.

Mr. Platt said Kirkpatrick & Lockhart will provide his legal team with more staff and back-office support. He said the lawyers were especially drawn to Kirkpatrick's substantial expertise in bank and thrift law.

"It gives me the resources that I just haven't had," Mr. Platt said. He expects his clients will benefit most from the new products his team can now offer.

David J. Butler, Brownstein's managing partner, said "a number" of clients followed the mortgage banking team to Kirkpatrick "because they are such good lawyers."

However, both Mr. Butler and Mr. Platt said there was no ill will between the lawyers and their former law firm.

"It was a friendly parting," Mr. Platt said. "They were disappointed. We didn't have to leave; they didn't want us to leave."

Mr. Butler said there were no "cat fights" between the mortgage banking team and his law firm. He added that Mr. Platt's team is wrapping up some unfinished legal work for Brownstein.

"They are and were very good friends,m and they left under very amicable terms," he said.

Brownstein will continue to do work on behalf of several major mortgage banks, Mr. Butler said. It is also doing perhaps the most work on defending mortgage banks from class actions, he said.

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