Patton Boggs partners Norman Antin, Jeffrey Haas and Mary Beth Bosco prepared Friday morning for their last few hours at the Washington office where they worked for more than 10 years—saying goodbye to their colleagues with emails, telephone calls and in person. They, plus colleagues Kevin Houlihan in Washington and Mark Goldschmidt and Shawn Turner in Denver, join Holland & Knight as partners on Sunday.
The financial services group and Bosco, a government contracts attorney, are another lateral coup for Holland & Knight, which now has picked up more than 30 lawyers from Patton Boggs among the 148 lawyers it has hired since January 2013.
“A number of us knew of them, knew of their reputation,” said Steven Sonberg, Holland & Knight’s managing partner in Miami. “We were very fortunate that this group decided to join us. “
The news came as Washington-based Patton Boggs and global firm Squire Sanders prepared to become a 1,600-attorney presence called Squire Patton Boggs.
Bosco, Haas and Antin each said Friday they had been thinking of leaving Patton Boggs for a few months—during which the smaller firm had seen partners defect, cash flow stumble and talk of a merger heat up. But the time wasn’t ripe for many partners to move until late this week, between votes by Squire Sanders’ and Patton Boggs’ partnerships to approve the merger and the day when Squire Patton Boggs officially opens.
“It’s the cleanest way to make the break,” Bosco said. “It’s as if one chapter is ending and people are moving on to the next phase. It’s a logical conclusion.”
Haas said his group—five partners who specialize in financial services—didn’t want to announce earlier and disrupt the merger.
They’re not alone.
Also on Friday, a seven-person health care policy group including former executive committee member John Jonas departed for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. And Jones Day announced today it had hired election law veterans Benjamin Ginsberg, Donald McGahn and William McGinley.
Additionally, Patton Boggs’ executive committee member Jennifer Richter, partner Atwood Jeter in Dallas and partner E. Adams Miller in Denver were scrubbed from the firm website late this week.
William Levay also moves to Holland & Knight as senior counsel with the financial services group in Washington. The firm plans to announce the moves Monday.
Patton managing partner Edward Newberry said in an email earlier this week that the partner departures held “no surprises.” Antin and Haas told Newberry weeks ago they would leave, and he expressed disappointment, they said.
Newberry said Squire Patton Boggs would close its eight-lawyer Anchorage office. Holland & Knight had courted three partners there this week, according to multiple sources, but the firm declined to comment on whether those lawyers would join as well.
Haas and Antin’s financial services group works with community banks and medium-sized financial institutions on transactions. They’ll reunite at Holland with a dozen corporate finance lawyers who split from Patton Boggs to open a Dallas office in July. Goldschmidt and Turner will work from Denver, but Holland & Knight will not open an office there.
A key difference between Holland & Knight and Squire Patton Boggs, according to Antin, was international presence. While Squire Patton Boggs spreads offices on many continents, most of Holland & Knight’s lawyers focus on North and South America, including offices in Bogota and Mexico City that opened in the past two years. The global focus of Squire Sanders didn’t fit the group’s U.S.-heavy work.
“We, certainly, like many of our colleagues have been basically wondering what would be our best outcome as we watched what [Patton Boggs] was attempting to accomplish,” Haas, 51, said of his decision to move. “It’s really in the last few months we accelerated that process and came to the conclusion that Holland & Knight was a great opportunity and great fit for us—nothing against Squire Sanders or Squire Patton Boggs.”
Bosco, 58, was chief diversity officer as well as a practicing lawyer in her last year at Patton Boggs. She joined the first in 1985 as a second-year associate and served on the executive committee from about 2003 to 2009 as its first female member, she said.
In the move, she rejoins another former Patton Boggs partner in government contracts, Robert Tompkins, who left his position as practice group head for Holland & Knight in January.
“He likes to claim that I hired him,” Bosco said. “I certainly interviewed him. We worked together for a long time.”
Bosco, a resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., has commuted to Washington for years to work at Patton Boggs. While she’ll still work out of Holland & Knight’s Washington office, the firm’s Florida presence would help her grow business throughout the state’s government contracting industry, a “huge and largely untapped market,” she said. Bosco’s clients have included shipbuilder Bath Iron Works, Veritas Capital Fund Management and Cerberus Capital Management.
“It’s great being part of a firm that wants to grow a practice area that you’re in,” Bosco said. “That to me is the main attraction.”
Contact Katelyn Polantz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated Saturday, May 31, 12:58 p.m. to correct the spelling of William Levay.