Musical Chairs

friedman_blog_20070424144934.jpgIt’s a little too early for a full-blown abortion debate, so let’s move on to more pedestrian matters, like partner poaching. A few weeks after Mayer Brown decided it needed to fire or demote 45 partners to drive up its stock price, Gary Friedman, who chaired Mayer’s employment practice, has decided he’s got to get the fudge out.
Friedman has been plucked by Weil for their employment litigation practice. Three other Mayer Brown lawyers are making the move with him: Andrew Kofsky, who will join Weil as counsel, and associates Jonathan Shiffman and Jonathan Sokotch.
From the WSJ Law Blog:

Friedman was not one of the 45 demoted or asked to leave. “I was not looking to leave,” Friedman told the Law Blog. “But for this extraordinary opportunity, I would have remained at Mayer, Brown.”

Sounds like the “right thing to say” to us.

Jeffrey Klein, the chair of Weil’s national employment litigation practice, says he poached Friedman. “He was a reluctant bride.”

Mayer Brown declined to comment.

Friedman specializes in defending employment class actions including discrimination and overtime-pay cases. It’s notable that Weil is beefing up in this area, since some top firms shy away from employment law, concluding that it’s not profitable enough. But Klein and Friedman say that employment cases have grown in volume and complexity, because top plaintiffs lawyers have jumped into the field in the wake of a slowdown in securities class actions. “The plaintiffs’ securities litigation bar has . . . pursued this litigation with a vengeance,” Friedman says.

Does it help your stock price if partners start to jump ship?
Mayer Brown Employment Lawyer Jumping to Weil [WSJ Law Blog]
Gary D. Friedman to Join Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s Employment Litigation Practice in New York [ (press release)]

Kevin Newsom Bradley Arant Rose White Above the Law Blog.jpgAll of this porn talk is making us feel dirty. So let’s turn our attention to more wholesome subjects.
Like the squeaky-clean Kevin Newsom, a devoted husband and father, and one of the country’s best appellate advocates. Newsom — who clerked for our former boss, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (9th Cir.), and Justice David H. Souter — currently serves as the Solicitor General of Alabama. The American Lawyer recently picked Newsom as one of the country’s top young litigators:

Kevin Newsom is only 34 and now practices far from the appellate hotbed of Washington, D.C., where he once worked as a Covington & Burling associate. Although he’s lost the three cases he’s argued so far before the U.S. Supreme Court, the former clerk for Justice David Souter nevertheless draws raves from leading appellate advocates. “He’s really, really good,” says Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin; another Supreme Court regular says that Newsom writes briefs with a novelist’s sense of language. His fellow Supreme Court clerks voted him the lawyer they’d hire if they needed an advocate. As Alabama’s SG, Newsom has argued nine cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He’s won seven—and the other two are pending.

Well, we’ve just learned that Newsom is moving on from the SG’s office. From a tipster:

Alabama SG Kevin Newsom will be joining the Birmingham law firm of Bradley Arant Rose & White. BARW now has three former SC clerks working in their appellate litigation section and appears to have cornered the market on this kind of work in the southeast.

Overall, this has been a good legal year for the state. UA law just jumped to 36 in the US News rankings, and earlier this year we hosted Richard Epstein and Justice Alito (Cass Sunstein, Justice Breyer, & Justice Thomas visited last year). Emory may be seen as the most undervalued law school, but we will have more grads on the COA this upcoming year (4).

We have confirmed this news with Newsom, so it’s more than just rumor. Check out his gracious statement to ATL, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Alabama SG Kevin Newsom to Bradley Arant”

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFSome notable moves within the legal profession:
Government to Private Sector:
* Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, to LeBoeuf Lamb in DC. Last November, Steele lost his bid to represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate.
* Michele Hirshman, who served as Eliot Spitzer’s top deputy at the Attorney General’s office before he became Governor, is joining Paul Weiss, as a litigation partner. Described by the New York Times as “very smart, very tough and rather short,” she sounds perfectly diva-licious.
Lateral Moves:
* Antitrust superstar Charles “Rick” Rule, to Cadwalader, from Fried Frank. This truly IS like musical chairs: Cadwalader, Rule’s new home, recently lost its antitrust group to Skadden.
* Celebrated criminal defense lawyer Abbe Lowell — who did an excellent job defending Hamlet against murder charges — is moving from Chadbourne & Parke to McDermott Will & Emery.
* Mark Holscher and Jeffrey Sinek are joining the Los Angeles office of Kirkland & Ellis. They’re coming from O’Melveny & Myers and Thelen Reid, respectively. From the Law Blog:

Holscher and Sinek are best friends. They were roommates when they served as federal prosecutors in Los Angeles. Holscher, 44, served as an assistant U.S. Attorney from 1989-1995; Sinek, 46, served from 1989 to 1994. Sinek was the best man at Holscher’s wedding; Holscher was a groomsman in Sinek’s. Both graduated from Boalt Hall law school. Holscher told the Law Blog they’ve always wanted to work together.

Alexandra Korry small Alexandra D Korry Above the Law blog.jpgSuch ambiguously gay commentary led an anonymous reader to quip: “Hope that Alexandra Korry doesn’t read about this…”
On The Move: Charles “Rick” Rule [Antitrust Review]
Kirkland Beefs Up West Coast White-Collar Practice [WSJ Law Blog]
Abbe Lowell to Join McDermott from Chadbourne [WSJ Law Blog]
Former Maryland Pol Michael Steele Joins LeBoeuf Lamb [WSJ Law Blog]
Spitzer’s Longtime No. 2 Michele Hirshman to Join Paul Weiss [WSJ Law Blog]

We reported on the rumors last week — and now the news is official. From the New York Law Journal:

Just as Weil, Gotshal & Manges welcomes back legendary bankruptcy partner Harvey Miller, the firm is saying goodbye to four other restructuring stars who are leaving to join a rival firm.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is set to announce today that it has recruited George A. Davis, Deryck A. Palmer, John J. Rapisardi and Andrew M. Troop as partners in New York. The move, involving four of Weil Gotshal’s most prominent bankruptcy partners apart from Miller and practice co-heads Martin Bienenstock and Marcia Goldstein, points to a major realignment among elite bankruptcy practices.

In our post from last week, we had all of the names except for Troop.

Our tipster chalked up the move to the departing partners’ desire “to swim in Bob Link’s shark tank and make the big $$$.” The NYLJ piece seems to confirm that:

[Deryck Palmer] praised Cadwalader’s famously performance-driven culture, where top partners are rewarded handsomely and weaker ones are winnowed out.

“Cadwalader provides an environment where every lawyer can achieve their potential,” said Palmer.

And their dream of a house in the Hamptons, too.

Earlier: Musical Chairs: Weil Gotshal — In With the Old, Out With the New?

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFHere are some recent, noteworthy moves within the D.C. legal community:
Inside the Administration:
* Conservative legal superstar Jennifer Brosnahan has left the White House Counsel’s office, where she was one of the more senior associate counsels, to become the new deputy general counsel at the Department of Transportation.
From government to private practice:
* As previously reported by Ken Vogel of The Politico, Michael Toner has left the Federal Election Commission, to build an election law practice at Bryan Cave (which, by the way, recently raised associate salaries).
Within the Fourth Estate:
* One of the most knowledgeable legal scribes around, Benjamin Wittes, is leaving the Washington Post, after some nine years at the venerable paper.
(Wittes, the author of Confirmation Wars (previously praised here), is currently on book leave from the Post. He’s working on another book about the federal courts.)
FEC Revolving Door Swings Faster [The Politico]

Harvey Miller Harvey R Miller Weil Gotshal Manges Above the Law blog.JPGThis morning brings some big news in the world of bankruptcy law. From the WSJ Law Blog:

You can go home again, especially if you’re Harvey Miller (at right). The legendary bankruptcy lawyer is expected to rejoin to Weil Gotshal, whose partners are scheduled to vote on his return tomorrow.

“I would be delighted to have Harvey back, but it’s premature at this stage to comment on his rejoining the firm until the partnership votes on the issue,” says Stephen Dannhauser, firm chair.

Before decamping to investment bank Greenhill & Co. in 2002, Miller had spent the previous 33 years at Weil, building its bankruptcy department into one of the most prominent debtor-side practices in the country.

And from a little bird (so consider this to be nothing more than rumor at this point):

It appears four bankruptcy partners are leaving Weil and moving to Cadwalader (apparently to swim in Bob Link’s shark tank and make the big $$$). Partners include Deryck Palmer, John Rapisardi, and George A. Davis.

Could the return of Harvey Miller to Weil be related to the (rumored) departures of these younger partners?

We are following up on this rumor and will let you know what we find out.

UPDATE: Harvey Miller’s return to Weil is official. The WGM press release is available here. A longer version of the release, which was circulated by email at Weil, appears after the jump.

Bankruptcy King Harvey Miller Expected to Rejoin Weil [WSJ Law Blog]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Weil Gotshal — In With the Old, Out With the New?”

Bill Burck 2 William Burck William A Burck Above the Law.JPGFormer Sullivan & Cromwell associates take many different career paths. Some join smaller firms or go in-house; some file lawsuits against S&C; and some join government service.
Last week we wrote about the high-powered William A. Burck (OT 1999/Kennedy), who has had his ticket punched by some of the legal world’s top employers: Sullivan & Cromwell, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, and the White House Counsel’s office. We announced that Burck was leaving the White House for the U.S. Department of Justice, but we didn’t have information on his new post at the DOJ.
We now have that information, courtesy of some Justice Department tipsters. Burck will be serving as Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General, Alice Fisher. From an internal memo that was circulated on Friday by Fisher:

Bill will be responsible for overseeing and advancing the legislative agenda of the Criminal Division, supervising the Office of Policy and Legislation, and representing the Division before the United States Sentencing Commission and the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure of the U.S. Courts.

In our prior post about this move, we noted the incestuous nature of conservative legal circles. One of our tipsters had this to add:

Re: incestuousness, note that Dabney Friedrich (nee Langhorne) — a former colleague of Bill Burck at the White House [whose nomination to the federal bench was discussed in the same post] — is married to Matt Friedrich, Alice Fisher’s former Chief of Staff/Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in Crim (and now a member of AG Gonzales’s staff).

Whew! Did you get all that?
In light of how well Republicans groom their young lawyers (figuratively and literally), we share this commenter’s interest in learning about high-powered young LIBERAL lawyers. We realize that it’s tougher when your party doesn’t control the executive branch, which is home to so many plum executive appointments (and doles out plum judicial ones). But still, we’re curious. We welcome your comments and emails.
It’s not terribly exciting; but if you’d like to see it, Alice Fisher’s memo announcing the arrival of Bill Burck appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: More Info About Bill Burck”

Bill Burck William Burck William A Burck Above the Law.JPGHere’s some (belated) news about notable moves at the Department of Justice and the White House:
New Arrivals at the DOJ:
We enjoy breathlessly reporting on the meteoric career trajectories of attractive women. And attractive men, too.
Over at Main Justice, two handsome gents have come onboard:
* The fresh-faced Thomas Dupree, Jr., formerly a partner in the Washington office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, has joined the Justice Department as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division.
For those of you outside the Beltway, being a DAAG is a big deal. Dupree, who is one of Washingtonian magazine’s 40 top lawyers under 40, will oversee a staff of over 200.
* William Burck (above right, accepting bedsheets from anti-Cindy Sheehan protesters in Crawford, TX) — a former Kozinski clerk and member of the Elect (OT 1999 / Kennedy), who should have been nominated as a White House hottie — is leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Burck, who served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Staff Secretary, is heading over to the DOJ’s Criminal Division. We don’t know the title of his new post; if you do, please drop us a line.
This marks a return for Burck to the DOJ, since he previously served as an assistant United States attorney in the magical Southern District of New York. Being at the Criminal Division means that he’ll get to work with the fantabulous Alice Fisher — one of the few DOJ divas who could hold her own against Shanetta Cutlar.
Elizabeth Papez Elizabeth Petrela Papez Kirkland Ellis OLC Above the Law.jpg* Elizabeth Petrela Papez (at right), a blonde beauty and Kirkland & Ellis partner, is heading over to the Office of Legal Counsel (aka the Finishing School for the Elect). She will be serving as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General.
DOJ Internal Promotion:
* Papez is filling a spot that was vacated due to a promotion. DOJ wunderkind Steven Engel — like Bill Burck, a Yale Law School grad / Kozinski clerk / Kennedy clerk (OT 2001) — has been promoted to Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the OLC. Steve Engel is married to another member of the Elect: Susan Engel (OT 2001/Scalia), yet another partner at K&E.
Conservative legal circles are so incestuous, aren’t they?
White House Internal Promotion:
Actually, make that REALLY incestuous:
* Bill Burck’s shoes in the White House are being filled by Brent McIntosh (previously described in these pages as “strappingly handsome”). McIntosh is, like Burck, another Yale Law grad and former Sullivan & Cromwell associate.
McIntosh is being promoted from within. He previously served in the White House Counsel’s office. He is a former law clerk to two conservative legal heavyweights: Judges Dennis Jacobs (2d Cir.) and Laurence Silberman (D.C. Cir.).
White House Departure:
* Dabney Friedrich, who served as associate counsel to the President, will be nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to the Legal Times.
(Dabney Friedrich was previously featured in a photo caption contest at Underneath Their Robes. Alas, due to her lack of familiarity with the movie American Pie, the “band camp” reference had to be explained to her by others.)
Bush to Nominate Former White House Associate Counsel to D.C. Court [Legal Times]

Kathryn Comerford Todd Kate Comerford Todd Above the Law.jpgFred Fielding, the former name partner of Wiley Rein & Fielding who is now settling in as White House counsel (for the second time), has brought in some reinforcements. They come from his former shop, Wiley Rein & Fielding (now known simply as Wiley Rein).
Three former Wiley Rein-sters, a partner and two associates, are joining Fielding over at the White House. They are:
1. Kate Comerford Todd (top right). This brilliant and beautiful member of the Elect (OT 2000/Thomas), whose husband is a current Supreme Court clerk (OT 2006/Alito), was a highly regarded young litigation partner at Wiley Rein.
Now Kate Todd is moving over to the White House. We’re uncertain of her seniority level over there (deputy level?). If you know, please enlighten us.
Amy Dunathan Amy F Dunathan Above the Law.jpg2. Amy Dunathan. Comerford will be joined by the similarly delicious Amy Dunathan (at right). Dunathan worked on the Hill before going to law school, so she’s a smart pick, given that the White House will be tangling quite a bit with the ascendant Democrats. She worked directly with Fielding on several projects during her time as a Wiley Rein associate.
3. Al Lambert. Lambert, also a former associate at Wiley Rein, brings a significant amount of experience in white-collar investigatory work — which will come in handy at the White House nowadays. Lambert worked extensively on the David Safavian case, as well as other white-collar matters.
Congratulations and good luck to Comerford, Dunathan, and Lambert!
P.S. We can’t find a photo of Al Lambert, which is why we don’t engage in any lip-smacking over him.
Kathryn Comerford Todd bio [Wiley Rein via Google Cache]
Amy F. Dunathan bio [Wiley Rein via Google Cache]
Judge Throws Out Jury Verdict in Iraq Fraud Case [Wiley Rein]

Steven Sunshine Stephen Sunshine antitrust lawyer Above the Law.jpgBlind items: they’re not just about adulterous tycoons and drug-addicted celebrities.
Sometimes they’re about antitrust lawyers at large law firms. Here’s a blind item from, of all places, Antitrust Review:

We hear that the entire antitrust group of a major firm is moving to an even more major New York firm, effective Monday Jan 29 (all partners, special counsels and associates, both in the NY office and in the DC office). The group has been at the current firm only for a relatively short time and is now moving again. And this time, none of the group are staying behind.

Keep your eyes peeled on Monday, this move will be big news, we’ll post more detail once the story hits the papers.

The story has now hit the papers, including the Wall Street Journal. It’s the antitrust group of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, which just left for Skadden Arps.
The group is led by Steven Sunshine (above right), a former DOJ antitrust official who is based in Washington, and Jess Biggio and Matthew Hendrickson, who practice out of New York. Sunshine and Biggio are coming onboard as partners; Hendrickson is joining Skadden as counsel.
Major Antitrust Group Moves [Antitrust Review]
Skadden Adds Sunshine To Its Antitrust Practice [Wall Street Journal via WSJ Law Blog]

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