ArentFox Schiff hires automotive partner quartet from Burns & Levinson

New team including veteran lawyers Paul Marshall Harris and Sara Judge will be based in Boston

Paul Marshall Harris and Sara Judge

Top 100 US firm ArentFox Schiff has added a four-strong automotive team in Boston from Burns & Levinson.

The incoming team includes partners Paul Marshall Harris, Sara Judge, Gregory Paonessa and Kelly Ballentine. They bring with them extensive experience across the automotive industry, including M&A, franchise disputes, regulatory compliance, enforcement defence and other corporate matters.

Aaron Jacoby, automotive group leader and managing partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office, said: “With the auto sector undergoing a major post-Covid comeback, we’ve seen an upsurge in consolidation, franchise litigation and regulatory compliance and defence matters. I’m thrilled to have this knowledgeable and well-respected group join our growing automotive team during such an exciting time for the industry.”

Harris brings more than 30 years of automotive industry experience, advising assorted auto-related businesses including distribution companies, franchises and motor vehicle dealers on a wide range of legal matters, including transaction agreements, compliance issues, consumer protection claims defence and commercial litigation disputes.

Judge arrives after almost 14 years at Burns & Levinson, where she had been a partner since 2014. Prior to that she had spells at Murtha Cullina, Epstein Becker & Green and Ford Marrin Esposito Witmeyer & Gleser. Her practice focuses on business litigation, representing companies and individuals with particular expertise in Massachusetts’ dealer protection Chapter 93B cases, as well as experience in commercial disputes and class action defences.

Paonessa arrives after six years at Burns & Levinson, where he was a business litigation attorney. Prior to that he spent three years as an associate at Donovan Hatem. His practice covers a range of commercial and business disputes, such as claims based on tort and contractual issues.

Meantime, Ballentine joins after almost seven years at Burns & Levinson, which she joined from Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, where she started her legal career. She advises clients on employment-related issues, including internal complaints, wages, separation agreements, as well as litigation matters.

David Barbash, managing partner of ArentFox’s Boston office, said: “This team has long been entrenched in New England and we are excited to have them join us in Boston. Paul, Sara, Greg, and Kelly have such deep and unique experience in the region and beyond – and our clients and attorneys will greatly benefit from their capabilities.”

ArentFox Schiff was formed in 2021 from the merger of Arent Fox and Schiff Hardin, a deal that catapulted the combined firms into the US top 100 by revenue. Back in January, it announced it had elected Brian Waldman to firmwide managing partner, succeeding co-managing partners Cristina Carvalho and Joseph Krasovec, who have led the firm since the merger’s completion.

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