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.)
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
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: email@example.com.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.