New Jersey Law Journal, November 06, 2020 at 06:37 PM

Mariellen Dugan, a partner at Gibbons in Newark, and Richard Spatola, senior attorney and trust & compliance officer with IBM in New York, add to the firm’s expansion in the last 12 months, in which it has brought on six attorneys total.

To boost its government investigations firepower and growing roster of former federal and state prosecutors, Calcagni & Kanefsky has added two seasoned trial attorneys to its Newark office.

Mariellen Dugan, a partner at Gibbons in Newark, and Richard Spatola, senior attorney and trust & compliance officer with IBM in New York, were brought on as partner and counsel, respectively. The two joined as of Oct. 19, though the firm had yet to formally announce the hires.

The duo add to the firm’s expansion in the last 12 months, in which the Calcagni firm has added six attorneys. In addition to Dugan and Spatola, the following came on board in the past year: Gianna Bove, a former associate at Arleo & Donohue, as associate; Linda Claude-Oben, former assistant Hudson County prosecutor, as senior associate; Lauren Paxton, of counsel; and former New Jersey Supreme Court Associate Justice and federal prosecutor Walter F.Timpone, as senior counsel.

“We’ve been carefully building our team of highly-respected, skilled litigators as the demand for trial attorneys with our shared government background has increased,” senior partner Thomas R. Calcagni said in a statement. “Mariellen and Rich embody the extraordinary experience, skill set, and judgment for which clients come to us, and we couldn’t be more excited having them aboard.”

Calgani said the firm has experienced record growth since its inception in 2014, attracting former top federal and state prosecutors and seasoned litigators.

Dugan, a 29-year law veteran, comes to the Calcagni firm with significant public and private sector experience. She is a former first assistant attorney general for New Jersey and a former assistant U.S. attorney. Dugan, 54, also served as general counsel and chief compliance officer at New Jersey Resources Corp., a publicly traded Fortune 100 company.

At Gibbons, where Dugan spent the last two years (she also spent the early part of her career at Gibbons for a previous two-year stint), she focused on complex commercial, white collar criminal, regulatory, securities, and False Claims Act matters.

“When it comes to high-stakes matters, you won’t find an attorney with more experience or savvy than Mariellen. She’s a pro and we’re thrilled having her as one of the team,” said senior partner Eric T. Kanefsky.

Patrick C. Dunican Jr., chairman and managing director at Gibbons, spoke highly of Dugan, who he’s known since law school at Seton Hall University School of Law.

“I have known Mariellen since our first day in law school over 30 years ago,” Dunican said in an email on Friday. “It has been my privilege to work with my law school moot court partner during both of her stints at Gibbons. I know her to be a brilliant and tenacious lawyer and wish her much success in her new role.”

Dugan said the firm was the right fit as she enters the third decade of her career.

After graduating from Seton Hall Law in 1991, Dugan clerked for the late U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise of the District of New Jersey, who passed away in 2015 at age 91.

“He was a gem and one of the best judges to serve on the bench in the country, in my opinion. He was a real maverick,” Dugan said of her longtime mentor. “He brought honor and taught civility and respect, and was just a wonderful man.”

Dugan said she and Peter Harvey, former attorney general of New Jersey from 2003-2006, and her former boss, shared a special bond of having both clerked for Debevoise.

On joining Calcagni & Kanefsky, said Dugan: “This was an opportunity for me to grow my business in a way that a firm like theirs is really situated to do. CK is not too big. It’s a nice size for me and nice size for a litigation boutique so I can have the flexibility that I’m looking for, but without sacrificing the kind of talent and skill that one might get at a larger law firm. They have that there. They have really qualified, skilled lawyers that I can call upon to assist me in my cases and work with me.”

Dugan said she brought her own client roster with her.

“My work generally involves complex civil litigation and doing investigations for corporations in really any capacity, mostly regulatory matters and white collar criminal defense,” Dugan said. “What I bring to the table is a lot of experience.

“I also have strong relationships in New Jersey in the federal courts and the state court regulatory sphere,” Dugan said. “I have a very good sense of how government works.”

Dugan, after serving as general counsel of New Jersey Resources for 11 years and chief operating officer for a year, said she also has a keen sense of how to work with in-house counsel for corporate clients.

Spatola, 38, joins the firm after guiding IBM on anti-corruption and other significant compliance concerns from September 2018 to last July.

Before his in-house role at IBM, Spatola was a federal law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and counsel at O’Melveny & Myers, an Am Law 100 law firm, from 2013 to 2018.

IBM declined to comment on Spatola’s departure.

At O’Melveny, Spatola represented companies and individuals in complex criminal, congressional and regulatory investigations, and enforcement matters, internal investigations, and civil litigation. “For me it was a perfect fit, professionally and personally,” said Spatola of joining Calcagni & Kanefsky. “My background is investigations, compliance, white collar defense and federal practice space, and that’s the strength of CK, with Eric and Tom being who they are and their time in government.”

Spatola, a 2008 St. John’s Law School grad—who last year moved from Manhattan to Watchung “to lay some roots and get to know the market”—predicts the annual NCAA March Madness basketball tournament will definitely be more interesting at his new firm, where many of his colleagues graduated from rival school Seton Hall.

“Yes, March Madness will be very interesting,” joked Spatola.

In a joint statement, Calcagni & Kanefsky’s co-founding partners noted how the firm selects new talent methodically: “CK’s unique background of former government officials and consistently-strong results in clients’ most critical matters have distinguished our boutique firm within the legal landscape. Amid the global pandemic and uncertainty that has been the hallmark of 2020, CK has offered seamless representation to its clients.

“We are proud of that record and thankful to our clients as we continue attracting top talent and relentlessly representing our clients’ interests,” said the statement.

— Suzette Parmley