Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.

You know the government lawyers who joined the top firms in the nation’s capital last year. And you’ve probably heard about the mergers to come for some in the city. But for reflection’s sake as a hectic 2016 comes to a close, let’s revisit the lateral group moves, from one Big Law shop to another, that redesigned Washington, D.C.’s legal landscape over the past 12 months.

7. Wiley Watch. Something may be amiss at Wiley Rein, the well-regarded firm named for co-founders Richard Wiley and Bert Rein that specializes in telecommunications and regulatory work. The firm is no longer the partnership run by longtime chairman Wiley and vice chair Rein. Many of Wiley’s closest colleagues moved to other firms in recent months, with Verizon Wireless Inc. litigator Andrew McBride jumping to Perkins Coie after some medical time off and former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell joining Cooley. R. Michael Senkowski, who has been Wiley’s right-hand telecom colleague dating back to the 1970s, moved to DLA Piper with Wiley Rein partners Nancy Victory and Eric DeSilva. Just this week, Wiley Rein also lost insurance appellate group leader Laura Foggan to Crowell & Moring. Appellate litigation departures have become commonplace at Wiley Rein, with Foggan’s move following appellate co-chair Helgi Walker’s defection to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in 2013 and partners William Consovoy and Thomas McCarthy’s decision in 2014 to start their own appellate boutique.

6. New Contracts. Jenner & Block lost an eight-partner government contracts team in April to Morrison & Foerster after a conflict arose between a client of the group, Northrop Grumman Corp., and longtime Jenner & Block clients such as General Dynamics Corp. Jenner & Block’s roster in Washington, D.C., took another hit in September when longtime partner Michael DeSanctis and former partner Donald Verrilli Jr., who left his post as U.S. Solicitor General last year but was expected to return to the firm, both headed to Munger, Tolles & Olson.

5. Two IP Ventures. Polsinelli made a major play in the nation’s capital last spring when it bolted on nearly all of so-called IP super boutique Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg. The deal boosted Polinselli’s head count by 44 lawyers, especially in Washington, D.C., where about a half-dozen partners joined the firm, including former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office director Q. Todd Dickinson. Seyfarth Shaw followed Polsinelli’s lead in October when it absorbed four-lawyer IP shop Fanelli Haag.

4. Anti-Truce. Two old-line New York firms found themselves at odds this year when a large antitrust practice left Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The group included Charles “Rick” Rule, now co-head of antitrust at Paul Weiss and a former assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, as well as three additional partners.

3. K&L Gone. They had the $30 million book of business. They had the people—15 partners in all. And they had the impact with the timing of their departure. The loss of K&L Gates’ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau-focused group in February and March was among the buzziest of the year inside-the-Beltway. Rainmaker Laurence Platt and his partners carefully considered where they could go before finally choosing Mayer Brown.

2. Demise of Dickstein. The final hours of Dickstein Shapiro were a shakeup that most of Washington, D.C.’s legal market suspected would occur for months, but the firm’s ultimate end in February 2016 ushered with it the largest collective lateral exodus the city has seen in months. More than 100 Dickstein Shapiro lawyers moved en masse to Blank Rome after their former firm said it would no longer operate. The hires gave Blank Rome almost 140 lawyers in Washington, D.C., and a new location in Dickstein Shapiro’s former Eye Street digs. Blank Rome brought on lawyers handling IP, government contracts, insurance and litigation work.

1. Clement and Company. No move caused more of a surprise and could have as significant impact on a firm as Bancroft’s decision to fold itself into Kirkland & Ellis. The high-profile appellate shop had been the top boutique of its kind, arguing for conservative causes, with former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement and Bancroft founder Viet Dinh leading the firm. In one swoop, Kirkland went from having a viable appellate litigation department to a firmwide crown jewel. The group—and thus, the firm—now stands to benefit from Republican gains in the executive and legislative branches, as well as from a soon-to-be-named nominee to fill the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia Jr.’s vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.

You know the government lawyers who joined the top firms in the nation’s capital last year. And you’ve probably heard about the mergers to come for some in the city. But for reflection’s sake as a hectic 2016 comes to a close, let’s revisit the lateral group moves, from one Big Law shop to another, that redesigned Washington, D.C.’s legal landscape over the past 12 months.

7. Wiley Watch. Something may be amiss at Wiley Rein , the well-regarded firm named for co-founders Richard Wiley and Bert Rein that specializes in telecommunications and regulatory work. The firm is no longer the partnership run by longtime chairman Wiley and vice chair Rein. Many of Wiley’s closest colleagues moved to other firms in recent months, with Verizon Wireless Inc. litigator Andrew McBride jumping to Perkins Coie after some medical time off and former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell joining Cooley . R. Michael Senkowski, who has been Wiley’s right-hand telecom colleague dating back to the 1970s, moved to DLA Piper with Wiley Rein partners Nancy Victory and Eric DeSilva. Just this week, Wiley Rein also lost insurance appellate group leader Laura Foggan to Crowell & Moring . Appellate litigation departures have become commonplace at Wiley Rein , with Foggan’s move following appellate co-chair Helgi Walker’s defection to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in 2013 and partners William Consovoy and Thomas McCarthy’s decision in 2014 to start their own appellate boutique.

6. New Contracts. Jenner & Block lost an eight-partner government contracts team in April to Morrison & Foerster after a conflict arose between a client of the group, Northrop Grumman Corp. , and longtime Jenner & Block clients such as General Dynamics Corp. Jenner & Block ’s roster in Washington, D.C., took another hit in September when longtime partner Michael DeSanctis and former partner Donald Verrilli Jr., who left his post as U.S. Solicitor General last year but was expected to return to the firm, both headed to Munger, Tolles & Olson .

5. Two IP Ventures. Polsinelli made a major play in the nation’s capital last spring when it bolted on nearly all of so-called IP super boutique Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg. The deal boosted Polinselli’s head count by 44 lawyers, especially in Washington, D.C., where about a half-dozen partners joined the firm, including former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office director Q. Todd Dickinson. Seyfarth Shaw followed Polsinelli ’s lead in October when it absorbed four-lawyer IP shop Fanelli Haag.

4. Anti-Truce. Two old-line New York firms found themselves at odds this year when a large antitrust practice left Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison . The group included Charles “Rick” Rule, now co-head of antitrust at Paul Weiss and a former assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, as well as three additional partners.

3. K&L Gone. They had the $30 million book of business. They had the people—15 partners in all. And they had the impact with the timing of their departure. The loss of K&L Gates ’ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau-focused group in February and March was among the buzziest of the year inside-the-Beltway. Rainmaker Laurence Platt and his partners carefully considered where they could go before finally choosing Mayer Brown .

2. Demise of Dickstein. The final hours of Dickstein Shapiro were a shakeup that most of Washington, D.C.’s legal market suspected would occur for months, but the firm’s ultimate end in February 2016 ushered with it the largest collective lateral exodus the city has seen in months. More than 100 Dickstein Shapiro lawyers moved en masse to Blank Rome after their former firm said it would no longer operate. The hires gave Blank Rome almost 140 lawyers in Washington, D.C., and a new location in Dickstein Shapiro ’s former Eye Street digs. Blank Rome brought on lawyers handling IP, government contracts, insurance and litigation work.

1. Clement and Company. No move caused more of a surprise and could have as significant impact on a firm as Bancroft’s decision to fold itself into Kirkland & Ellis . The high-profile appellate shop had been the top boutique of its kind, arguing for conservative causes, with former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement and Bancroft founder Viet Dinh leading the firm. In one swoop, Kirkland went from having a viable appellate litigation department to a firmwide crown jewel. The group—and thus, the firm—now stands to benefit from Republican gains in the executive and legislative branches, as well as from a soon-to-be-named nominee to fill the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia Jr.’s vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.