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Holland & Knight has poached a 10-lawyer group from Beveridge & Diamond, leaving the 80-lawyer environmental law firm with just a handful of attorneys on the West Coast. Land-use partners Jennifer Hernandez and Elizabeth Lake, who worked mainly out of Beveridge’s San Francisco office, started the exodus when they joined Holland’s Bay Area outpost last week. They are being joined by five associates and one senior counsel, who will work in San Francisco, and one of counsel and one associate, who will work out of Holland’s Los Angeles office. “For us, a huge factor was the strength of the government practice at Holland & Knight,” said Hernandez, including “the lobbying capabilities in D.C. and Sacramento.” Hernandez, who has spent the last 12 years at Beveridge, said that most of her group’s clients were following, including Farallon Capital Management, Catellus Development Corp., Mirant Corp., Genentech and the city of Oakland. John Hanson, a member of Beveridge’s management committee, said the firm was considering closing the Los Angeles and Sacramento offices, although it wants to rebuild in San Francisco, where it opened in 1989. “We will stay in San Francisco and we will add talent to our office and continue to practice law,” Hanson said. “We have lots of clients that are served out of that office, and we will continue to serve them.” Hanson said the firm was currently talking to lateral candidates about joining the firm. Beveridge might also move individual lawyers from other offices to San Francisco, although no decisions have been made on that front. In 2000, Beveridge announced it was closing its S.F. office. But at the last minute, Hernandez said, she’d signed a lease for new office space. She headed the firm’s San Francisco office until a year ago, when longtime partner Gary Smith returned to the Bay Area and took the helm. Smith is now the only partner in the S.F. office. There are two associates and one of counsel, who splits her time between S.F. and L.A. Hernandez said she was leaving because her group’s practice had shifted from mainly environmental to include more real estate and government advocacy work. Thomas Zimmer, executive partner of Holland & Knight’s San Francisco office, said the new lawyers expand the firm’s government and real estate practice groups in San Francisco. “In each of our offices, we have sought to establish a significant practice dealing with public agencies,” said Zimmer. “This group definitely does that.” Holland had previously considered growing in California with the acquisition of a small or medium-sized firm, but Zimmer said the strategy had shifted to bringing on smaller groups of partners, such as this one. “Frankly, there aren’t that many firms in San Francisco on the smaller to mid-size,” said Zimmer. Hernandez represents clients in land use and environmental project permitting, litigation and public advocacy work. Lake focuses on natural resource and environmental transactions, complex project permitting, compliance counseling and legislative development. Other lawyers in the group include of counsel David Friedman, senior counsel Andrea Sumits and associates Alfred Fraijo Jr., Peter Landreth, Nicole Leonard, Amanda Monchamp, Tamsen Plume and Danielle Sveska. Friedman and Fraijo will work out of Los Angeles. With the additions, Holland & Knight has about 30 attorneys in San Francisco and 60 in Los Angeles. Firmwide, there are 1,250 lawyers in 33 offices worldwide. Beveridge & Diamond had 80 attorneys prior to the recent defections. In addition to its three California branches, Beveridge & Diamond has offices in Washington, D.C.; New York; Baltimore; Austin, Texas; Tenafly, N.J.; and Wellesley, Mass.

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