Justice James M. McGuire of the Appellate Division, First Department, will join Dechert as a partner, the firm announced yesterday. Justice McGuire expects to make the move in mid- to late June, after he has finished his pending cases.
Justice McGuire announced last fall that he would be leaving his judicial post, saying he could no longer support his family on his $144,000 salary. State judges’ salaries have not risen since January 1999 (NYLJ, Nov. 15, 2010). “I’ll miss public service, but I have to do the right thing for my family,” Justice McGuire, who has two young children, said in an interview.
The 57-year-old judge, who expects to focus on complex commercial litigation, internal corporate investigations and arbitration, said that he considered several firms but was ultimately drawn to Dechert’s international reputation, “fabulous clients and interesting work.” He said he was familiar with the work of a number of Dechert attorneys, either because they practiced before him or by reputation, and had been impressed by what he had seen.
Mr. McGuire said he anticipated a smooth transition from the public to private sector. He has been in practice before, working at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from 1985 to 1987 and at White & Case from 2003 to 2004. He said he had “loved it.” Dechert chairman-elect Andrew J. Levander said that he did not anticipate problems from hiring as a new partner an attorney who does not have any current clients. “I think he’s a rare legal talent,” Mr. Levander said. “He’s incredibly bright, and he’s very personable.” He added, “My view of developing a law firm is when you have an opportunity to get talent, you get the talent.”
A former chief counsel to Governor George E. Pataki, Justice McGuire was elected to Supreme Court in 2004. He joined the First Department in August 2005 and soon became known for his willingness to dissent. Justice McGuire also has served as deputy chief of the appeals bureau for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and as deputy counsel for the state Commission on Government Integrity. Justice McGuire earned a bachelor’s degree from Fordham College in 1975 and a J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1980.