Our picks for the most important lateral moves in 2011.
Moved to DLA Piper
Angel reentered the world of law firm management in November as global cochairman of DLA Piper. During his ten-year reign as managing partner at Linklaters, the firm became a worldwide powerhouse, in part by developing a top-notch cross-border transactional practice and opening a New York office. When Angel left in 2007, Linklaters was one of the most profitable firms in the world. Angel joins DLA Piper from SJ Berwin, where he served as a nonexecutive director advising the firm's partnership board. He'll inherit a firm that is the world's largest and is hoping to expand into Canada.
Sean Boland, Robert Abrams
Moved to Baker Botts, Baker & Hostetler
The failure of Howrey, which officially dissolved last March, led to a flood of talented partners on the open market. Two of the biggest stars were antitrust partners Abrams (right) and Boland. Abrams led a team of 17 lawyers to Baker & Hostetler in March, while Boland landed at Baker Botts with 31 other lawyers in tow. Abrams brought a large antitrust class action—dairy farmers in 14 states sued milk producers in the Southeast—with him to his new firm, and currently serves as lead counsel to Caterpillar Inc. in defending a trade secrets case. Boland, meanwhile, worked on Caterpillar's $7.6 billion acquisition of Bucyrus International Inc.
Moved to Gibson, Dunn
While the recession plagued other parts of the United States last year, Texas continued to be a bright spot in the national economy. Firms across The Am Law 200 opened offices in the Lone Star State in hopes of striking gold in the booming energy market [see "Boom Town"]. Gibson, Dunn's Dallas office brought in five heavyweights. The firm reeled in four Vinson & Elkins partners, including M&A partner Chapman, and V&E's head of litigation and regulatory department William Dawson. Robert Walters, a former Vinson partner serving as general counsel for Energy Future Holdings Corp., also joined the group.
Moved to Bancroft
The former U.S. solicitor general under George W. Bush burnished his conservative bona fides by agreeing to represent the U.S. House of Representatives in defending the controversial Defense of Marriage Act. But when King & Spalding withdrew from the case, Clement chose his client over his firm and decamped to Bancroft, a litigation boutique, in April. Clement hasn't looked back. He represented the National Football League during the recent lockout, and is scheduled to argue against the new health care law and in favor of Arizona's immigration law before the U.S. Supreme Court this term.
Moved to Davis Polk
While corporate America struggles with increased Securities and Exchange Commission regulation in the post–Dodd Frank world, Davis Polk went straight to the source. In July the firm brought in derivatives expert Ervin, who had been a senior adviser at the SEC since 2009. Ervin, who also spent 15 years as an attorney with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, was instrumental in drafting the SEC's rules and regulations regarding the previously unregulated world of derivatives. Since joining Davis Polk, she's advised some of the biggest names on Wall Street—including Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley—on the new regs.
Moved to Paul, Weiss
Paul, Weiss took a substantial bite out of O'Melveny & Myers's transactional practice in May. The firm gobbled up seven New York partners, including Ezring, the ex-cochair of O'Melveny's corporate finance/capital markets practice, and Brad Okun, the head of the tax practice and the former head of O'Melveny's New York office. Since the move, the group closed a deal for Apollo Global Management, LLC, that they started at O'Melveny—the $510 million purchase of CKX, Inc.
Moved to Dechert
Who watches the watchdogs? Fine, who joined Dechert as a white-collar and securities litigation partner in September, spent a decade as the U.S. Department of Justice's inspector general, where he had no qualms about standing up to his superiors. Fine served under presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. He scrutinized the mass firing of U.S. attorneys under former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, criticized the Justice Department's intelligence gathering relating to the 9/11 attacks, and called out the Federal Bureau of Investigation over its use of national security letters to gain information about individuals.
Moved to Weil, Gotshal
If Weil, Gotshal was looking to make a splash with the launch of its London funds formation practice, the firm succeeded. Weil reeled in Gander, the former head of Clifford Chance's funds group, along with three other partners from his team. Gander and his funds crew's high-powered client roster includes private equity firm BC Partners Limited. Just last year, Simpson grabbed the previous Clifford funds head Jason Glover.
Moved to Hogan Lovells
Former acting solicitor general Katyal may not have gotten Elena Kagan's old job, but he ended up with a pretty good consolation prize: cohead of the appellate practice group at Hogan Lovells. Katyal, who joined the firm in September, is one of the top U.S. Supreme Court advocates of his time, having argued some 15 cases. Most notably, he won on behalf of Guantánamo Bay detainees in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld , and successfully defended the constitutionality of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Celia Lam, Christopher Wong
Moved to Simpson Thacher
The new, new thing for Am Law 200 firms in Asia last year: practicing local Hong Kong law. Add Simpson Thacher to that list. The firm, which opened its Hong Kong office in 1993, brought in the corporate partners to launch its Hong Kong law practice in October [see "Locally Sourced"]. Lam's a former cohead of Linklaters's China practice, and Wong was Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's China corporate chief.
Ivan Marisin, Vasily Kuznetsov
Moved to Quinn Emanuel
Less than two years after Dechert wooed Marisin and Kuznetsov from Clifford Chance, the Moscow litigators were scooped up again. Quinn lured the duo away to launch its Moscow office—its third European outpost since 2008. Marisin's claim to fame: He represented The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation in a $22.5 billion suit brought by the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation—the largest case ever heard by a Russian state court. The suit over questionable money transfers was dropped in 2009, after the bank agreed to pay just $14 million in legal fees. Rising star Kuznetsov specializes in international arbitration.
Kay Ian Ng
Moved to Sullivan & Cromwell
Another Wall Street firm beefs up its China practice with a Hong Kong law group, and another Magic Circle firm gets raided. In June, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer lost Ng, its Hong Kong managing partner, to S&C, along with one counsel. Ng, now head of S&C's Hong Kong law practice, had led the firm on some of Freshfields's largest recent deals, including China Everbright Bank Company Limited's $6 billion IPO.
Moved to Quinn Emanuel
Litigation powerhouse Quinn got a boost in October with the addition of hotshot trial and appellate attorney Schapiro. The former Mayer Brown partner made headlines in June 2010 when he led YouTube, LLC, and its parent company Google Inc. to a summary judgment win in a $1 billion copyright infringement suit brought by Viacom Inc. Just days after the brainy litigator defected to Quinn, he argued Google's appeal in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Moved to Cravath
Cravath almost never takes lateral partners. But they made an exception in September for Varney, the ex-head of the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust division and a former commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. Varney, who was largely responsible for the Obama administration's spike in antitrust enforcement, scuttled a proposed acquisition of NYSE Euronext by The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc., and IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. She also brought a massive suit against credit card companies—accusing them of anticompetitive behavior.
David Zhang, Nick Norris, Dominic Tsun
Moved to Kirkland & Ellis
Kirkland was behind one of the most high- profile lateral moves in Asia last summer—snagging eight corporate partners for its Hong Kong office. Previously its Hong Kong outpost focused primarily on private equity work. Now the firm hopes that laterals will dramatically expand Kirkland's M&A and capital markets practices. Norris, Tsun, and Li-Chien Wong joined from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Zhang, John Otoshi, and Benjamin Su arrived from Latham & Watkins; and Ashley Young and Douglas Murning came from Allen & Overy. Norris specializes in mergers and acquisitions. Tsun represents issuers, underwriters, and investors in Hong Kong initial public offerings. And Zhang represents Chinese companies on U.S. capital markets transactions.
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