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Two weeks after recruiting Steefel, Levitt & Weiss’ Michael Lawson, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has poached two more partners from the San Francisco firm. Daryl Landy, who at one time was on Steefel’s management committee and co-chaired its litigation group, joins Morgan, Lewis’ Palo Alto office next week. Joseph Floren will join the firm’s San Francisco office. Their litigation and labor employment practices “fit into Morgan, Lewis’ sweet spot,” said partner Franklin “Brock” Gowdy, managing partner of Morgan’s San Francisco office. Landy defends companies in employment-related claims, such as wrongful termination, discrimination or harassment. He also represents national securities firms and broker-dealers in litigation, counseling matters and arbitrations. Floren specializes in complex business litigation, with an emphasis on the representation of broker-dealers, investment managers and financial service companies. “I’ve worked with them from the very beginning,” said Lawson. “Daryl was a summer associate at our firm . . . I am delighted to have them back. They are a key part of our service for security industry clients.” Floren started at Steefel as an associate after a short stint in Bank of America’s legal department. All three lawyers have worked together for about 15 years, Lawson said. They serviced many of the same clients. Legal recruiter Larry Watanabe, who helped bring over both Lawson and Floren to Morgan, said he expected to see key partners leaving regional firms. “I would anticipate the trend of ‘star’ partners in smaller firms making the leap to larger national law firms,” said Watanabe. “In most all instances, these partners’ practices have simply outgrown their current platforms. These limitations can prohibit their ability to serve clients on a variety of levels.” Barry Lee, chairman of Steefel, said he didn’t interpret the departures as an indication that his firm was at risk of losing lawyers to firms, large or small. “Joe worked exclusively and very closely with Mike Lawson,” he said. “Daryl, his decision was wholly independent.” “The person who was closest to Mike Lawson is me,” he said. “And I’m not going anywhere. We’ve been good colleagues and good friends and we remain so.” Lee added that Steefel was adding associates and was always talking to lawyers at the partner level. Steefel is a 75-lawyer firm with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Stamford, Conn. Morgan, Lewis has 1,200 attorneys in 19 offices worldwide.

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