KVCF, the downtown law firm also known as Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank, is now without its Kaplan.
Rob Kaplan, who co-founded the firm in 2005 and had been managing partner, departed in recent weeks.
He’s since joined Whiteford Taylor & Preston, a much larger firm, bringing with him his securities law practice of more than 20 years.
Kaplan Voekler, which in recent years has used the name KVCF, continues to use that initial-centric moniker despite Kaplan’s departure.
The firm declined to comment other than to say it wishes Kaplan the best of luck in his post-KVCF pursuits.
Kaplan, reached Monday, said: “From my perspective, I view it as a natural evolution of my practice. I have a number of clients who have grown to the size where having a deeper bench and more diversification of practice areas will allow me to provide the best level of service.”
He added, “And I had seen a natural evolution of my career and where I wanted and needed it to go.”
Asked if he left KVCF on good terms, Kaplan said: “We came to an agreement as to how that would occur and we’ve tried to make it as smooth a transition for clients as possible.”
His final day at KVCF was Jan. 28 and he started at Whiteford Taylor a few days later. He’s no longer a shareholder in KVCF.
Kaplan said there are mixed emotions leaving a firm that still bears his name.
“Of course,” he said. “You found a place, you grow it into a successful firm and that’s going to hold special meaning for you. But it’s taken on a life of its own. We’ve brought on new partners over the years and they’re going to have their own voices and it becomes its own living breathing thing. It’s got its path and I’ve got mine.”
Vernon Inge, managing partner of Whiteford Taylor’s Richmond office, said Kaplan officially joined the firm in late January.
“He has a great securities practice and we’re just really excited to have him join our office,” Inge said.
Inge launched Whiteford’s Richmond office in 2018 with a group that followed him from LeClairRyan. The firm has since grown its local ranks to nearly two dozen attorneys.
“We’re continuing to get some really good partners,” Inge said. “We just continue to grow as we have good opportunities.”
Kaplan’s practice includes representing investment funds and REITs in raising capital. In recent years he built a specialty in so-called Reg A offerings, a small but growing sector of the IPO market.
Those pursuits led him to participate in the formation of his own REIT, along with other business partners, known as HC Government Realty Trust. Initially founded in Florida, the fund has a niche in buying buildings that are fully leased by federal government agencies.
Kaplan, who had been the REIT’s president, resigned in August 2019, according to SEC filings. It is now based in North Carolina. He said he no longer has an active role in the company but remains a shareholder.
KVCF, headquartered in Shockoe Slip, has been through several incarnations in its 17 years, including being known as Gregory Kaplan and Kaplan & Frank. It took on Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank in 2012, when Tom Voekler and Chip Cunningham came over from Hirschler.
The firm lists a roster of 17 on its website, including 14 attorneys.