Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is beefing up its white-collar and securities presence in the San Francisco Bay Area and has tapped two Ropes & Gray partners to do it.
Michael Wong and Thad Davis, longtime friends who spent the past several years building Ropes & Gray's San Francisco litigation practice, joined their new firm Monday.
While Davis and Wong are joining a top litigation department nationally, Gibson Dunn hasn't been a major player locally in white-collar work, outside of antitrust. "We've been looking for some time to find lawyers of their strength to help us build in the Bay Area," said Gibson Dunn Chairman Kenneth Doran. Two "prominent, well-known and talented lawyers" will raise the firm's profile in Northern California, he added.
Davis, primarily a civil litigator, and Wong, a former federal prosecutor, are joining the firm with leadership positions. Davis will co-chair the national securities litigation practice, while Wong will co-chair the national securities enforcement practice. It marks the first time San Francisco-based Gibson partners have held those titles, Doran said.
Wong also will be a member of the white-collar defense and investigations group.
They expect to remain busy with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act work and trials and arbitrations.
"They both have substantial experience in FCPA and other types of investigations, and that often will take them to remote parts of the world," Doran said.
Wong and Davis, both 43 years old, are something of a package deal. They've been friends since their first year at Harvard Law, were groomsmen in each others' weddings and have tag-teamed numerous cases.
Over vodka cocktails at the Mandarin Oriental hotel recently, Davis and Wong discussed the "culture of teamwork" they are looking forward to at Gibson, their achievements at Ropes & Gray, and the case they were trying in San Mateo County, Calif., Superior Court, where they were defending a client in a business dispute with hundreds of millions at stake.