Dorsey has made some key lateral hires of late, most notably adding a five-lawyer bankruptcy team to its Palo Alto office with the mid-January acquisition of Silicon Valley bankruptcy boutique Murray & Murray, according to a story by sibling publication The Recorder. (Murray & Murray serves as local counsel to the trustee in the bankruptcy of now-defunct Howrey.)
Dorsey's Palo Alto outpost also added patent and life sciences partner Scott Smith, a former head of the local office of Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, and former Morrison & Foerster labor and employment partner David Murphy in 2012. Amid the collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf last year, Dorsey also picked up veteran litigation partner William Primps in New York, as well as corporate partner Catherine Pan, a former Goodwin Procter associate.
The firm's other 2012 additions included three litigation partners in Salt Lake CityBryon Benevento, Dan Larsen, and Kimberly Nevillefrom Snell & Wilmer and a new Toronto office head in corporate partner Richard Raymer, the former head of the Canada practice at Hodgson Russ. So far this year, Dorsey has hired construction and government contracts partners Traeger Machetanz and Jonathan DeMella in Seattle from local firm Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker.
At the same time, Dorsey has also suffered its share of defections. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius hired former corporate partners Ellen Bancroft and Bryan Gadol and of counsel Joo Ryung Kang in Orange County, California, in January, while Venable picked up environmental regulatory partner Kathryn Floyd and of counsel Jay Johnson last month in Washington, D.C.
Those losses come on the heels of a spate of 2012 defections that included a six-lawyer IP team in Minneapolis jumping to local firm Winthrop & Weinstine; litigation partner Steven Allison and corporate partner David Hayes in Orange County decamping for Crowell & Moring and Haynes and Boone, respectively; former white-collar crime and civil fraud practice head William Michael Jr. joining Mayer Brown in Chicago; and Christine Swanick, a former cohair of Dorsey's Indian law group, leaving for Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton in New York.
William "Billy" Martin, a former Howrey litigation partner who was a high-profile hire by Dorsey in March 2011, left the firm less than a year later to form his own Washington, D.C.based shop Martin & Gitner. Martin took with him a roughly $500,000 legal services contract to advise the House Ethics Committee in its investigation of Representative Maxine Waters, who was cleared last September.
Dorsey corporate partner Jamie Benson in London also left the firm last year to join the Singapore office of Duane Morris & Selvam. The recent departure of the London tax team leaves Dorsey with 24 lawyers in the city, where the firm has had an office since 1986.
While Dorsey has been hurt by the loss of some client work over the past few yearsthe state of Minnesota dumped the firm as its bond counsel in 2011Cutler says that the bond business was actually very minor. He adds that Dorsey is poised to pick up work on other matters, including advising UnitedHealth, where his predecessor is now the top in-house lawyer for the leading Minnetonka, Minnesotabased health insurer.
Richfield, Minnesotabased big box electronics retailer Best Buy, which Dorsey has advised in the past, saw a proposed $8.8 billion takeover bid by the company's founder and a trio of private equity firms collapse last week, possibly preserving another key client relationship.
Cutler says that Dorsey's international disputes work has increased significantlythe firm is currently representing the state-owned Argentine national bank in litigation with sovereign debt holdersand notes that the firm also won the mandate last fall to serve as general counsel to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority on its plans to build a new stadium for the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings. (Click here for Dorsey's proposal on that matter.)