As it makes another attempt to grow in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mintz Levin has hired a corporate partner from Latham & Watkins.
Robert Burwell will join Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo's newly launched San Francisco office this week.
Burwell, who represents middle-market private equity firms and companies, was a member of Latham's private equity practice. He said he will have more flexibility to set the right rates for his clients at Mintz. He expects most of them to come with him.
"I feel like Mintz is a really good fit for [middle-market work], whereas Latham has been moving pretty steadily up market," he said.
Burwell is one of the first lateral partners to join Mintz in San Francisco, where the firm opened up last April after shuttering its outpost in Silicon Valley. The firm set up shop in San Diego and Palo Alto in 2006, but the Silicon Valley office -- once home to about 15 lawyers -- had dwindled to just a handful of practitioners by last March. San Francisco office managing partner Paul Churchill, who joined the firm in October, said the lateral partners Mintz has attracted since opening in S.F. show it was the right move for the firm.
A hire from Latham & Watkins will help the firm gain momentum, legal recruiter Larry Watanabe said. And as the office's first private equity lawyer, Burwell will broaden Mintz's corporate practice in San Francisco considerably, Churchill noted. He added that he is interviewing other potential lateral partners and hopes to hire lawyers who do work in venture capital and emerging companies, among other practices, in the coming months.
"For any new office, corporate is a core and essential practice area," Watanabe said. "It can often be the most difficult practice area to gain traction."
Burwell said there are no plans for other lawyers to move with him from Latham.
"Rob has been a terrific colleague, and we wish him well," said Karen Silverman, managing partner of Latham's San Francisco office.