At the White House:
Positions in the White House Counsel’s office are some of the most prestigious and interesting jobs in the entire legal profession. And now two new lawyers are coming on board as associate counsels to the president:
* Christopher Oprison, formerly of Skadden Arps (Washington, DC); and Cheryl Stanton, a former law clerk to then-Judge Alito, and most recently of Olgetree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart (Morristown, NJ).
The arrival of Oprison and Stanton will mean that the lawyers in the office will reshuffle their portfolios for judicial nominations. We hear that Stanton will be in charge of Fifth Circuit nominations — a subject of great interest to us.
* Also, a third lawyer — Alan Swendiman, previously general counsel of the GSA, everybody’s favorite government agency — is joining the White House staff. He’ll serve as special assistant to the President and director, Office of Administration.
At Google (which is arguably more powerful than the White House these days):
* John Kent Walker Jr., formerly deputy GC of eBay, joins the search engine giant as general counsel.
Unusual structure: Walker will report to David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president of corporate development, who will take on the title of “chief legal officer.” But hey, Google is an unusual company.
Biglaw moves, after the jump.
At the White House:
A few moves to report today:
* Antitrust attorney Jeffrey Brennan, to Dechert (DC), from the FTC (where he was Associate Director of the Bureau of Competition and Assistant Director of the Bureau’s Health Care Services and Products Division).
* Capital markets lawyer Rachel Coan, to Morrison & Foerster (NY), from LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae.
* White-collar and securities litigator Stephen Ascher, to Jenner & Block (NY), from Kronish Lieb.
On The Move [Antitrust Review]
Federal Trade Commission Associate Director Jeffrey W. Brennan Joins Dechert LLP [Dechert]
NY Capital Markets Partner Switches Firms [NYLawyer.com]
NY Partner Leaves Merging Firm [NYLawyer.com]
In our post last month about the merger of Cooley Godward and Kronish Lieb, we wondered aloud: And What About Mr. Lieb? His name was unceremoniously dumped from the moniker of the new entity, which will be known as “Cooley Godward Kronish.” Ouch.
Readers have subsequently informed us of what Richard Lieb is up to these days. He can be found alive and well, teaching a full load in the Bankruptcy LLM program at St. John’s University School of Law. He also still maintains an office at the firm, where he’s a retired partner (of counsel).
It seems that the academic life agrees with Lieb, at least according to one correspondent:
[H]e puts a lot of time and attention into his courses and, based on his reputation from many years of practice, has successfully enticed numerous”‘name” bankruptcy lawyers professors and judges to come and speak to his classes. As far as I know, St. John’s is the only LLM program in bankruptcy anywhere, and Mr. Lieb still has a remarkable command of legal principles and reported case law at his fingertips.
Glad to hear it. We hope to still have command of our bowels at age 76, to say nothing of “legal principles and reported case law.”
But still, the question remains: How does Mr. Lieb feel about having his name axed post-merger? According to time-honored law firming naming principles, one would expect the post-merger entity to be called either “Cooley Kronish” (a la “WilmerHale”) or “Cooley Godward Kronish Lieb” (a la “Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman”).
Our suggestion: Just call the firm “Suri Cruise LLP.” Publicity avalanche — and massive Google traffic — guaranteed!
(That would be almost as good a firm name as our reigning favorite: Saxena White.)
Merger mania continues inside the world of Biglaw. Here’s the latest pair of firms to tie the knot:
Cooley Godward LLP, a 445-lawyer law firm known for its representation of West Coast technology companies, plans to merge with Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman LLP, a 110-lawyer New York firm specializing in commercial litigation, bankruptcy and white-collar defense.
The merger, which is expected to be announced today, will become effective Oct. 1. The new firm will be called Cooley Godward Kronish LLP.
Kronish who? In the Big Apple, a 110-attorney shop doesn’t count for much. There are national firms with New York branch offices bigger than that.
Cooley Godward is a much bigger firm, both in terms of headcount and reputation, than Kronish Lieb. It’s a victory for Kronish that this is being called a “merger” rather than an “acquisition,” and that the Kronish name — although not Lieb — will make its way into the new entity’s moniker.
Seems like Cooley was so desperate for a New York presence that it was willing to make such concessions. And Cooley isn’t what it once was:
During the 1990s, Cooley Godward gained a reputation as one of a handful of go-to law firms for West Coast technology companies in need of venture financing or intellectual-property help. But after the tech bubble burst in late 2000, the firm, like others that had focused on technology, struggled. Its revenue fell, and, in August of 2001, the firm laid off 86 associates. About a year later, the firm laid off 27 more.
So back in her heyday, Cooley could have probably landed herself a much more desirable suitor. But then she gained all that weight, and she let her looks go…
If you have any good scuttlebutt on this merger, please drop us a line (via email).
Law Firms Cooley Godward, Kronish Lieb Plan to Merge [Wall Street Journal]
Cooley Godward, NY’s Kronish Lieb Merging to Create 550-Lawyer Firm [New York Law Journal]