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Latham, Reed Smith, K&L Gates Tap Lateral MarketThe lateral marketplace in California has been anything but sleepy so far this summer. Latham poached emerging companies partner Daniel Burnham from corporate boutique Strategic Law Partners. Reed Smith lured labor and employment partner L. Julius Turman from Morgan Lewis. And K&L Gates welcomed partner Charles Schwenck from Foley & Lardner.
2013-06-13 06:26:46 PM
The lateral marketplace has been anything but sleepy so far this summer, with Latham & Watkins, Reed Smith and K&L Gates all welcoming new partners.
Latham poached emerging companies partner Daniel Burnham from corporate boutique Strategic Law Partners to step up its presence in Los Angeles' teeming ecosystem of technology companies. Reed Smith lured labor and employment partner L. Julius Turman from the San Francisco office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to help build out the practice in Northern California. Meanwhile, K&L Gates welcomed Los Angeles-based partner Charles Schwenck, who decamped from Foley & Lardner, into its growing energy, infrastructure and resources practice.
Hiring Burnham is Latham & Watkins' latest gambit to grow its emerging companies practice. Mounting corporate activity in "Silicon Beach" -- the startup-friendly stretch from Santa Monica to Venice Beach -- and elsewhere in Los Angeles compelled the firm to shop the lateral marketplace, said partner W. Alex Voxman, who co-chairs Latham's corporate department in the city.
"We were really looking for a top lawyer with really strong connections to entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and the market," Voxman said. "Dan fit that bill to a T."
Burnham, who will lead the emerging companies practice group in Los Angeles, describes himself as a "traditional startup lawyer" who shepherds companies from inception to sale or IPO. By shifting from a boutique to a global player, Burnham says he is mirroring the market. Many new companies now face privacy and international concerns soon after launch, leading them to seek sophisticated legal services earlier in the lifecycle, Burnham explained.
"This was a good opportunity for me to move to the bigger platform," he said. "The market is moving to a bigger platform."
Bradley Schwartz, founder of Strategic Law Partners, wrote in an email that the firm is still ready to meet the needs of the market. Burnham said he expects his clients to follow him to Latham & Watkins, but no other lawyers will be joining him from the boutique.
"Dan is a great lawyer and a good friend who will succeed at any law firm," Schwartz said. "I still like our position as the alternative to the big firms now coming into this market and believe that with our expertise and cost structure we will continue to thrive at Strategic Law Partners."
Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Schwenck is the latest in a series of lateral hires for K&L Gates, which has recruited five other energy partners so far this year. Schwenck said he came to K&L Gates to join a larger practice group and tap into a broader global network. He noted that the firm's presences in Asia and Australia will prove particularly useful for his major projects practice, though the breadth of the network is paramount.
"That work can be anywhere around the world, and what's an important market today may not be an important market tomorrow," he said.
Schwenck, who represents developers and project sponsors in large energy and infrastructure projects, has had a hand in the development of San Francisco's Presidio Parkway and high-speed rail in Taiwan, among other projects. Earlier in his career, he served as general counsel of Fluor Corp. and division counsel for Bechtel Corp.'s power division.
Schwenck said most of his clients will come with him to K&L Gates. But he will not bring any lawyers with him from Foley & Lardner. A Foley spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Schwenck's move.
Back in the San Francisco Bay Area, Turman said he was drawn to Reed Smith by the chance to build something. He and San Francisco partner Deborah Broyles have been charged with expanding Reed Smith's practice in the region.
"My move to Reed Smith was a great opportunity at a great time in my career," he said. "It provided me with an opportunity for leadership, much more control over my career, and I think it's going to help me to take my skills to the next level."
Along with his clients, Turman will be joined at Reed Smith by Philip Smith, his principal associate at Morgan Lewis. Other associates at Morgan Lewis are considering moving to Reed Smith as well, Turman said.
Turman is a trial lawyer who represents clients in disputes related to discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, trade secrets, unfair competition and wage and hour, among other issues. His practice also includes counseling.
"Julius worked hard for our clients during the seven years he was with us," said Joseph Costello, the leader of Morgan Lewis' labor and employment practice. "We wish him well."