Akerman LLP — The Miami law firm has opened up a Chicago office with a team that includes Scott Meyers. Akerman specializes on litigation in the financial services and securities sectors, with a particular emphasis on hedge funds and investment advisers. Meyers, who was previously with Ulmer & Berne LLP, will serve as Chicago office managing partner.

BakerHostetler  — The Cleveland law firm hired Bryce Linsenmayer. He arrives at the firm’s Houston office from McGuireWoods, where he represented companies in numerous industries, including energy, environmental services and technology.

Ballard Spahr  — Saba Ashraf has joined the Philadelphia law firm as a partner. She handles legal matters pertaining to tax issues for health care deals. Ashraf joins the firm’s Atlanta office from McKenna Long & Aldridge, where she was a partner and led the firm’s tax practice.

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. (Nasdaq: FNFG) —  The Buffalo, N.Y.-based bank has promoted James Cannella (pictured) to the position of senior business development officer within the firm’s lending segment, First Niagara Commercial Finance. In this role, Cannella will be responsible for new business development in the bank’s asset-based lending portfolio in Buffalo, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and Rochester, N.Y.  Cannella will be based at First Niagara’s Cleveland office.

K&L Gates LLP — The law firm’s Paris office added Jean-Patrice Labautière. He joins K&L Gates from Allen & Overy LLP, where he practiced for 15 years and contributed to the launch and development of its Paris corporate practice. Labautière is particularly active in the healthcare, financial services and technology sectors.

Morgan Joseph TriArtisan LLC (MJTA) — The investment and merchant bank promoted Zachary Fisher to managing director in the technology, media and telecommunications group.  Fisher, who joined MJTA in 2001, was previously with ABN Amro and, before that, ING Barings Furman Selz. MJTA is based in New York, with offices in San Francisco and Stamford, Conn.

The Small Business Investor Alliance (SBIA) — The New York-based association for lower middle- market private equity funds and investors enlisted Christopher Hayes as legislative and regulatory counsel.  Hayes will advise the SBIA on financial compliance and regulatory issues as well as engage in legislative outreach to the U.S. Congress.

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