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Winston & Strawn announced this week the appointment of Charles Birenbaum to head the firm’s San Francisco office. A labor and employment partner who joined the firm just over a year ago, Birenbaum left his last position at Thelen Reid & Priest after losing his bid to become firm chairman there. At Thelen, Birenbaum had pressed for an aggressive growth and marketing strategy, but he lost out — by a single vote — to Thomas Igoe Jr., who promised a more conservative approach. Now Birenbaum is being celebrated for his role in growing Winston & Strawn’s San Francisco office. Birenbaum said he was tapped to help with recruiting just a few months after his arrival at Winston & Strawn. “His arrival has got our expansion jump- started,” said Patrick Murphy, a partner in the San Francisco office. “He’s been able to attract a number of able people.” Recently, Winston & Strawn snagged two litigation partners from Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich’s Palo Alto office — Jeffrey Lederman and Amanda Groves. Birenbaum also impressed Winston & Strawn with his success at growing Thelen’s Los Angeles office between 1996 and 2001. Birenbaum said he recruited more than 40 attorneys there during that time and became a member of the firm’s management committee. Murphy said that Birenbaum was appointed by Winston & Strawn’s firmwide executive committee. He replaces Michael “Kip” Maly, who came to the Chicago firm via its merger with Murphy Sheneman Julian & Rogers. The San Francisco bankruptcy boutique was the startup firm for Winston & Strawn’s office here, providing space and 28 attorneys. The firm now has about 38 lawyers here. Other key hires were litigator Andrew Bridges and transactional attorney John Nishi, both lawyers from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati with significant copyright experience. Also, the office brought on Stephen Berkman from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Winston & Strawn ranked 28th on The American Lawyer’s revenue rankings last year, with 805 lawyers and profits per equity partner of $815,000.

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