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 six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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