Biglaw, Federal Government, Lateral Moves, Musical Chairs, Partner Issues

Musical Chairs: Notable New Names at Davis Polk, Paul Hastings, and Orrick

Over its long and storied history, Davis Polk & Wardwell hasn’t hired many lateral partners. Most of its partners are homegrown, joining the firm right out of law school and spending their entire careers there (like the two most recently promoted partners).

But this has started to change over the past few years, as managing partner Thomas Reid discussed in an August 2011 interview with Am Law Daily. In the August 2010 to August 2011 period, DPW hired a half-dozen prominent lateral partners.

And the lateral hiring spree continues (although not without the occasional snag). Let’s hear about Davis Polk’s latest high-profile hire, a new lateral partner at Paul Hastings, and an addition to the leadership of Orrick….

Here’s a report from Peter Lattman over at DealBook (via Morning Docket):

Davis Polk & Wardwell has hired Jon Leibowitz, the former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, a coup for the law firm as it bolsters its increasing presence in Washington.

Mr. Leibowitz served four years as head of the F.T.C., during which he pushed for consumer privacy protections, policed merger activity and reined in predatory lending practices. He left his post in February and was elected to the Davis Polk partnership on Monday, his 55th birthday.

The Supreme Court also handed Mr. Leibowitz a birthday present on Monday in a case that had become of a priority for the F.T.C. The justices ruled that federal regulators can sue brand-name pharmaceutical companies for antitrust violations when they pay generic drug makers to keep rival products off the market.

Jon Leibowitz

You can read more about that very interesting case, FTC v. Actavis, over here (from ATL’s Supreme Court correspondent, Matt Kaiser).

Leibowitz joins a number of other prominent government alumni at Davis Polk in D.C., including Annette Nazareth, a former SEC commissioner, and Linda Chatman Thomsen, a former head of the SEC’s enforcement division. Leibowitz will advise clients on antitrust and competition issues related to M&A deals and also handle privacy-law issues.

Meanwhile, Paul Hastings has hired veteran litigator Douglas Flaum away from Fried Frank, where he served as head of the Securities and Shareholder Litigation practice. According to Chambers and Partners — which is, in Anonymous Partner’s estimation, the most esteemed of the lawyer ratings systems — Flaum is “an extremely articulate and pleasant lawyer.” It sounds like his new colleagues at Paul Hastings will enjoy his company (and hopefully his book of business, too). You can read more about Flaum, as well as another recent laterals at Paul Hastings, in the firm’s press release.

Finally, over at Orrick, the reorganization continues. From Sara Randazzo of Am Law Daily:

The revamping of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s leadership team under new chairman Mitchell Zuklie continued this week, with the firm confirming that it has hired Betsy Donovan from Shearman & Sterling to fill the role of chief marketing officer.

Orrick has been without a CMO since December 2010, when Jeanne Sdroulas vacated the position, though chief client service officer David Fries has filled in since then by leading the firm’s business development department. The hire comes two months after Zuklie succeeded Ralph Baxter, the firm’s longtime chairman and CEO, as Orrick’s top leader.

Other changes in the executive ranks since Zuklie’s ascension to Orrick’s top management post include the departures — or anticipated departures — of Gera Vaz, Orrick’s chief human resources officer and U.S. executive director; Peter Krakaur, its chief knowledge officer; and Reid Horovitz, who, as chief operating officer, served as Baxter’s top lieutenant. The firm is also in the process of eliminating 21 staff positions and relocating 11 others to Orrick’s back-office support center in Wheeling, West Virginia.

We covered the earlier Orrick changes here. The firm is eliminating the positions of “chief human resources officer” and “chief knowledge officer,” which could yield significant savings. Jobs with “chief” in the title tend to be well-compensated. According to Am Law, chief marketing officers like Betsy Donovan can command more than $600,000 a year, not including bonuses.

It makes sense that Orrick’s new leader, Mitchell Zuklie, is replacing senior management. It’s yet another similarity between Biglaw and Game of Thrones: every king wants his own Small Council.

Former Chairman of the F.T.C. Is Set to Join Davis Polk [DealBook / New York Times]
High-Profile Securities and Commercial Litigation Partner Joins Paul Hastings in New York [Paul Hastings (press release)]
New Orrick Leader Adds to Team with CMO from Shearman [Am Law Daily]

Earlier: New Partner Watch: Incoming Partner Classes at Ten Top Firms
Nationwide Layoff Watch: And Then They Came For Management
A Biglaw ‘Red Wedding’: Could It Happen At Your Firm?

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