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Joshua Rosenkranz, the founding president and chief executive officer of the Brennan Center for Justice, is moving to Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, bolstering the firm’s recently established appeals and strategy practice group. A veteran public interest lawyer, Rosen�kranz will officially join Heller Ehrman’s New York office in May. He’ll be one of four partners in the appellate practice, which the firm formally carved out of its litigation division at the beginning of the year. “We do an enormous amount of appellate work, but it’s not something that we tried to separately organize or market to our clients,” said Heller Ehrman Chairman Barry Levin. With new partners like Rosenkranz, “we’re going to develop a more focused appellate practice in the firm.” In addition to Rosenkranz, Heller Ehrman’s appellate group consists of San Francisco partner David Goodwin, Madison, Wis., partner Charles Curtis Jr. and a yet-to-be-announced lateral partner. Heller Ehrman joins a number of firms with stand-alone appellate groups, including Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, O’Melveny & Myers and Kirkland & Ellis. “Clients have come to expect and really demand that a firm have a group of discrete appellate lawyers to handle the big-ticket appeals,” said Theodore Boutrous Jr., the co-chair of Gibson, Dunn’s 30-attorney appellate and constitutional law group. According to Levin, Heller Ehrman almost always handles appeals for clients it represents at trial. But the firm hopes that offering a stand-alone appellate team will enable it to pick up a greater share of post-trial-stage cases. Rosenkranz’s move to Heller Ehrman will mark his first experience in private practice after working as a public interest attorney for 16 years. While government lawyers often move to private firms, it’s less common for public interest lawyers to make the transition to private firms. “Ultimately it came down to knowing that I am first, foremost and forever a litigator through and through,” Rosenkranz said. “As I projected forward to where I wanted the Brennan Center to be years from now, I realized there would come a point where I would have to stop thinking of myself as a litigator and more as the chief manager and fund raiser.” Rosenkranz co-founded the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law in 1995, in honor of Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr., whom he once clerked for. The center, which has grown from two employees to 40, focuses on litigation and public policy advocacy in issues such as democracy, access to justice and poverty. The group has taken two cases to the U.S. Supreme Court and has represented clients including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

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