The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

Bingham McCutchen, an 800-lawyer Am Law 100 firm reportedly mulling merger talks with potential suitors, saw two tax partners in Washington, D.C., recently leave the firm for in-house positions.

HARTMAN BLANCHARD JR., a federal tax litigator, left Bingham on July 25 to become head of U.S. federal tax controversy at Morgan Stanley in the Beltway. BRADFORD WHITEHURST, who specializes in tax planning and partnership taxation, departed Bingham on July 31 to join Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity as executive vice president and head of tax. Both companies have been Bingham clients.

The duo both previously practiced at McKee Nelson, which merged with Bingham in July 2009. The Am Law Daily reported late last month that compensation guarantees given to legacy McKee Nelson partners as part of that tie-up were responsible for some of the lingering tensions and financial pressures at the firm in recent years.

In recent weeks the lateral activity out of Bingham has slowed significantly after the firm ushered in new leadership and made some hires of its own. Bingham did lose one other lawyer of note this month, however, in Los Angeles financial institutions counsel JENNIFER SEPIC. Records on file with the State Bar of California show she has joined FINRA.

In other Churn news …

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has added former federal prosecutor and Baker & McKenzie export control and sanctions enforcement partner JONATHAN POLING to its international trade practice in Washington, D.C. Poling left the Justice Department for Baker & McKenzie nearly two years ago this month.

Andrews Kurth, which saw its Austin managing partner lured away by Thompson & Knight earlier this week, also saw financial services litigation partner WILLIAM COMPTON leave the firm’s Dallas office last month for the Stanton Law Firm. Compton was once part of the subprime and distressed assets practice formed by Andrews Kurth in March 2008, another member of which was former corporate governance and securities head Spencer Barasch, who also left the firm last month.

Baker & Hostetler, which merged last year with Philadelphia’s Woodcock Washburn, has once again expanded in the City of Brotherly Love by hiring DLA Piper antitrust and trade regulation practice cochair CARL HITTINGER. The Legal Intelligencer, a sibling publication, reports the hire marks the first time that Baker & Hostetler has sought to broaden the focus of its outpost in the city beyond an IP focus.

SHANNON NAGLE, a bankruptcy partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson who joined the firm from O’Melveny & Myers in 2010, left Fried Frank’s New York office earlier this summer to become assistant general counsel at CIT Group. Fried Frank also saw tax partner KEVIN KEYES in Washington, D.C., depart in May for KPMG, where he is now a managing director in the global accounting giant’s Washington national tax group.

Dorsey & Whitney has expanded its finance and restructuring group by adding of counsel RICHARD “DICK” MANNER in Denver from the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions, where he was most recently assistant general counsel and corporate secretary of Farm Credit Leasing.

RICHARD AARON, an energy, public utility and government public policy partner with Warner Norcorss & Judd, has left the Michigan firm for Dykema Gossett, where he will be a partner in the firm’s Lansing office. Aaron represents a wide range of energy clients on renewable energy, cogeneration, natural gas transportation and storage and contracts matters.

Almost three years after leaving Baker Botts for Jones Day, capital markets partner DARRELL TAYLOR is once again on the move in Dallas, where he’s now become a member of Jackson Walker’s corporate and securities group. Taylor represents clients in the energy, energy services and petrochemical industries.

Kirkland & Ellis, whose bevy of lateral departures from its IP practice was the subject of an Am Law Daily story this week, has continued to make strategic hires. The firm’s new Houston office added Baker Botts associate DAVID CASTRO JR. as a corporate partner, a little more than a month after Kirkland brought on former Cravath, Swaine & Moore practice area attorney MICHAEL KRASNOVSKY as a corporate partner in New York.

McKenna Long & Aldridge bankruptcy partner B. SUMMER CHANDLER has left the firm’s Atlanta office for McCalla Raymer in Panama City, Fla., according to records on file with the State Bar of Georgia. McCalla Raymer, which has offices throughout the Southeast, provides legal services to the mortgage banking industry. Chandler made partner at McKenna Long in early 2011.

Norton Rose Fulbright, which earlier this week saw Baker & Hostetler poach the head of its Denver and Pittsburgh offices, has bolstered its South African practice by hiring energy partner LIZEL OBERHOLZER in Johannesburg from leading local firm Bowman Gilfillan. Oberholzer served as head of the oil and gas department at the South African firm.

Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg, the Houston-based so-called superboutique, has followed up its recent entry in Philadelphia by hiring four litigators across the country. The firm has brought on Greenberg Traurig IP litigation partner WILLIAM COATS in San Francisco and Cupertino, Calif., as well as Morgan, Lewis & Bockius IP litigation partner JAMES GLENN in Houston. Also joining Novak Druce as partners are former Kleinberg & Lerner of counsel JOHN WEATHERSPOON in Houston and ex-Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy associate CHRIS HOLM in Los Angeles.

PHILIP STAMATAKOS, an M&A partner with Jones Day in Chicago, has left the firm for Paul Hastings. Stamatakos, who joined Jones Day from Baker & McKenzie in early 2006, was part of a team from the firm that counseled Canada’s Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan in its 2010 defense of a $38.6 billion takeover bid by BHP Billiton. Stamatakos also advised Saputo, Canada’s largest dairy producer, on its $1.45 billion buy of Dean Foods’ Morningstar division in late 2012.

Perkins Coie has hired commercial and IP litigation partner ANN SCHOFIELD BAKER in New York from McKool Smith, a firm she joined in 2008 and served as head of its national trademark litigation group. Also joining Perkins Coie as senior labor and employment counsel in Boise is H. KNOX MCMILLAN, a former vice president and associate general counsel with OfficeMax in Naperville, Ill.

MICHELE GARVIN, a labor and employment expert and former chair of Ropes & Gray health care group in Boston, left the firm in late July to join the in-house legal department at Boston Children’s Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked the registered nonprofit, which is a Ropes & Gray client, as the top pediatric facility in the nation last year.

The leading Wall Street firms don’t like to advertise their lateral hires, but Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s recent additions didn’t stay off our radar. In late June the firm hired Fried Frank antitrust partner PETER GURYAN in New York, as well as Ropes & Gray investment funds partner RAJIB CHANDA. Lateral hires are rare at Simpson, although the firm did bring in Baker Botts M&A partner M. Breen Haire in Houston earlier this year.

Snell & Wilmer has brought on regulatory partner RAYMOND HEYMAN in Phoenix to chair its natural resources task force. Heyman, who served as general counsel for UniSource Energy from 2005 to 2011, was previously a founding partner of Phoenix’s Roshka Heyman & DeWulf (now Roshka DeWulf & Patten). He spent the past two years serving a Mormon mission in Argentina and managing his own investment portfolio.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has hired BENJAMIN HOCH, the former chair of Covington & Burling’s bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice, as a finance partner in New York. Hoch advises clients on a broad range of corporate finance and restructuring-related matters.

The Churn is compiled from law firm releases, announcements and reporting. Please send all announcements and news releases to thechurn@alm.com.