A July 14 Business article incorrectly identified Stephen J. Pollak's title at Shea & Gardner, a District law firm. He is a partner. (Published 7/15/04)

Shea & Gardner, a District law firm with 73 lawyers and deep roots in federal affairs, will combine with Boston-based Goodwin Procter LLP, a 500-lawyer operation, the firms said yesterday.

Shea & Gardner was founded by two former members of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. Its more recent former partners include R. James Woolsey, who was CIA director during the Clinton administration, and Steven J. Hadley, who is President Bush's deputy national security adviser.

Shea specializes in litigation and regulatory work, including public policy, environmental and general business law. Goodwin calls itself a full-service firm and has specialized in financial services, real estate, intellectual property and private equity.

Goodwin's Washington office of 12 lawyers, which specializes in financial services, antitrust and general litigation, will combine with Shea's sole office. The merger becomes effective in October, and the firm will operate under the name Goodwin Procter LLP.

The Boston-Washington merger follows another such combination earlier this year. In April, Washington firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP announced a merger with Boston-based Hale and Dorr LLP.

Regina M. Pisa, chairman and managing partner of Goodwin Procter, said the firm has national aspirations and wanted to expand its Washington operations. The firm, which has offices in New York, New Jersey, Washington and Boston, also wants to expand to California. "We came to the conclusion that if we were really serious about this market that [a merger] would be the best way to do it," Pisa said.

John D. Aldock, chairman of Shea & Gardner, said the firm will retain all of its lawyers. Aldock will head the Washington office.

He said the company has turned down merger offers in the past. Goodwin was different, he said, because "we could play a significant role in [the firm's] future growth."

"We didn't want to join a firm that was already in every city, where we would just fold into the woodwork," he said.

Lisa Smith, who heads the merger practice at Hildebrandt International, a consulting firm, said small and medium-sized law firms remain under pressure to find a merger partner.

"There are more and more mid-sized firms finding they are not on the short list to even compete for major transactions," Smith said. "Clients don't want to use 100 firms. They want to use a few, and if they can get a range of services in one firm, they'll do that."

In 2001, there were 82 law firm combinations nationally, she said. The pace slowed to 35 mergers in 2003, she said, and 36 have been announced so far this year.

Shea's founders, Francis M. Shea and Warner W. Gardner, held high-level positions during FDR's administration. Currently, the firm retains as general counsel Anthony A. Lapham, who was general counsel of the CIA under President George H.W. Bush, and Franklin D. Kramer, an assistant secretary of defense in Jimmy Carter's administration. Stephen J. Pollak, assistant attorney general for civil rights under President Lyndon Johnson, is senior counsel.

Shea represents several defendants in asbestos and silica lawsuits and is legislative counsel to the National Association of Manufacturers.