The elevation of Kathleen Sullivan to name partner at Quinn Emanuel symbolized some serious change in the world of Biglaw. Diversity in the partnership ranks is growing. Sullivan is likely Biglaw’s first openly LGBT name partner, and she appears to be the first female to get her name on the door at an AmLaw 100 firm.
We’re vaguely troubled by the title of this WSJ Law Blog post (’cause it makes us think of this). But it does report on a notable move within the legal profession, so we will plow ahead.
From the aforementioned post:
Matthew Gluck is joining Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman as a senior partner, marking a significant hire for the plaintiffs’ law firm. Gluck had been a litigation partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson since 1973….
Milberg Weiss was indicted in May on fraud charges based on allegations that it paid plaintiffs to file cases. It pleaded not guilty and has vowed to fight the charges. Since the indictment, the firm has lost a significant number of partners and associates.
Gluck’s move continues the trend of breaking down the barrier between plaintiffs’ firms and Biglaw. Sometimes Biglaw associates might, after a few years of practice, move over to the plaintiffs’ side; but such moves at the partner level were much less common. Biglaw was Biglaw, plaintiffs’ firms were plaintiffs’ firms, and never the twain shall meet.
This may be changing. Gluck’s move, from Fried Frank to Milberg Weiss, comes not long after former Milberg Weiss name partner Patricia Hynes moved in the opposite direction — from Milberg Weiss to the New York office of Allen & Overy, the defense-oriented British firm.*
So why did Gluck make the move?
Gluck, 64 years old, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Cornell University. He told the WSJ’s Nathan Koppel he was soon facing retirement age at Fried Frank and wanted a new challenge.
Attempting to turn around a class-action-complaint mill under federal indictment would indeed qualify as a “challenge.” But the undaunted Gluck is surprisingly sanguine about Milberg’s future:
“I don’t know why people have left [the firm] except for panic,” he says. “It doesn’t strike me as rational.”
Not “rational”? Clients defecting enmasse, partners fleeingindroves, courts taking the firm off cases, or refusing to appoint them in new ones… Call us Debbie Downer, but this doesn’t sound too promising.
Even if you question the original decisions of clients, partners, and courts to abandon Milberg in the first instance, here’s the problem: the prophecy of doom has turned self-fulfilling. Does the name “Arthur Andersen” ring a bell? Even though the accounting firm was ultimately vindicated in the Supreme Court, that vindication came too late.
But hey, Matt Gluck’s arrival is undoubtedly a good thing for Milberg. In addition to being an experienced litigator, Gluck has — as noted by Milberg Weiss managing partner Sanford Dumain — “superb credentials in the area of bankruptcy law.”
* Yes, Allen & Overy is one of the “Magic Circle” firms. There, we said it. Now wasn’t that fun? Fried Frank Partner Comes In Through Milberg’s Out Door [WSJ Law Blog] Milberg Gets Fried Frank Veteran [Wall Street Journal] Against Tide, Lawyer Joins Milberg Weiss [New York Times] Matthew Gluck bio [Martindale-Hubbell]
* Litigator Robert Knuts, to Allen & Overy, from Day, Berry & Howard. Knuts was with the New York office of the SEC from 1994 to 2003.
As you may recall, London-based Allen & Overy is trying to build up its New York litigation practice — most recently through the addition of former plaintiffs’-side princess Pat Hynes.
* Private equity lawyer James Kelly, to Nixon Peabody, from O’Melveny & Myers. New Partners:
* Goodwin Procter: corporate and private equity lawyer Edward Braum. NY Partners Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com] NY Lawyers On the Move [NYLawyer.com]
Since it went and got itself indicted, things have been less than peachy-keen over at Milberg Weiss, everyone’s favorite class-action complaint factory. Milberg has lost oodles of prominent partners to other plaintiffs’ firms. And now things are turning downright ugly:
Patricia Hynes, a former name partner of Milberg Weiss, is crossing over to the other side. Starting today, she will be a senior counsel in the New York office of Allen & Overy, an elite, London-based firm that defends companies against securities-fraud litigation, according to a release issued by A&O. “We are desperately trying to build the U.S component of a great firm,” says A&O partner Pamela Rogers Chepiga,* who notes that she used to work with Hynes in the U.S Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
Yes, that’s right. Pat Hynes — who was a name partner at Milberg, back when it was called Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach — is going to be a defense lawyer in securities class actions.
Congratulations to Hynes for seeing the light — or, at the very least, the fat paycheck that A&O probably dangled before her.
* The legal world is a small one: Pamela Rogers Chepiga is the wife of Simpson Thacher powerhouse partner Michael Chepiga (who also finds time to be a Broadway playwright).
(Disclosure: Back when we were in private practice, Michael Chepiga got mad at us on the telephone — and was entirely in the right. After changing into dry underwear, we called him and left a voice-mail of one thousand apologies.)
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!