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Nixon Peabody has lost two more partners to DLA Piper, this time from the helm of its insurance and reinsurance practice. Making a total of nine partners who have jumped to DLA Piper in recent weeks, the two latest departures are Michael Murphy, chairman of Nixon Peabody’s insurance and reinsurance group, and Aidan McCormack, practice leader of the group. Both attorneys work in New York. Nixon Peabody’s insurance and reinsurance group includes about 20 partners and has been a key practice for the firm for the last 30 years. Despite the losses of important partners, Nixon Peabody maintains that the “aggregate impact” on the firm will be “slightly accretive” in 2010, spokeswoman Allison McClain said in an e-mail. The firm, she said, “remains on strong financial ground.” Last week, Nixon Peabody lost Frank Ryan, a New York partner and the chairman of its litigation department. In addition, it lost Henry Liu, the chairman of its China and Asia Pacific practice. Also leaving was Nicholas Papastavros, co-chairman of Nixon Peabody’s privacy and data protection practice in Boston. In early May, DLA Piper brought aboard Nixon Peabody rainmaker Peter White in New York, who orchestrated financing for the New York Yankees and Mets stadiums. White was named a “Dealmaker of the Year” in 2007 by The American Lawyer, an affiliate of The National Law Journal. Joining White were partners Mark Whitaker in Washington, D.C., and Katherine Baynes in Rochester, N.Y. Both of those attorneys have public finance practices. Charles Baker, a former Nixon Peabody mergers and acquisitions partner, joined a few days later (paid subscription required). Baker moved to Nixon Peabody’s New York office in March from Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. Among other big deals, he handled the 2008 purchase of the Miami Dolphins franchise and Dolphin stadium. The opportunity to build upon DLA Piper’s broad global platform prompted the moves, said Roger Meltzer, chairman of DLA Piper’s corporate and finance practices. The loss of nine partners from Nixon Peabody, which has 708 attorneys according the latest NLJ 250, The National Law Journal‘s list of the nation’s largest law firms, is unlikely to do significant harm, said consultant Peter Zeughauser. Still, recruiting additional strong talent in New York could prove difficult. “What’s going to be painful is losing critical mass in New York,” he said. Nixon Peabody’s profits per partner in 2009 were $655,000, up by 1.6 percent compared to 2008, according to the AmLaw 200, The American Lawyer‘s list of the nation’s financially strongest firms. Profits per partner in DLA Piper’s U.S. offices were $1.2 million, down by 5 percent. DLA Piper, the nation’s second largest law firm, has 3,450 attorneys worldwide.

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