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Just two weeks after grabbing five partners from Heller Ehrman’s Venture Law Group, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe has nabbed four more. This time the group includes one of VLG’s most senior partners, Donald Keller Jr., as well as Thomas Tobiason, Mark Windfeld-Hansen and Mitchell Zuklie. Orrick Chairman Ralph Baxter Jr. said the four resigned Friday and will join Orrick’s emerging companies practice as soon as Heller releases them from their notice period. “This is an extraordinary development for Orrick,” Baxter said. “It makes dramatically more significant the advance of our practice.” Two associates from Heller VLG will also join Orrick, Baxter said, adding that it would not be a surprise if more associates made the transfer. Baxter said Orrick knew the four lawyers well and that they were a “perfect cultural fit.” Keller, the most senior lawyer in the group, joined VLG from Morrison & Foerster in 1994. His experience includes representing both emerging and late-stage technology companies including Fabric7 Systems, eHarmony and Determine Software. Keller acted as Oracle’s primary outside corporate and securities counsel from 1990 to 2000. For many years he was responsible for VLG’s daily management. Zuklie and Tobiason both focus on venture capital financings, public offerings and corporate work for emerging companies. Windfeld-Hansen has a transactional tax and executive compensation practice. Orrick and VLG used to share clients and once talked of merging. It was a surprise when VLG’s 60 attorneys announced they would align with Heller in September 2003. VLG partners Glen Van Ligten, John Bautista, David Lee and Michael Morrissey joined Orrick two weeks ago. Edmund Ruffin Jr. also made the switch in Washington, D.C. Morrissey is expected to join Ruffin in Washington this summer.

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