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Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman will most likely have its first ever non-San Francisco chair later this year. Century City partner James Rishwain Jr., who heads the firm’s global real estate practice section, has been tapped to replace Mary Cranston as the firm’s chair when she ends her term in December. Stephen Huttler, the firm’s current vice chair and the former managing partner of Shaw Pittman, will continue as vice chair. He is based in Washington, D.C. A third member of the newly chosen executive team is San Francisco partner Patrick Marshall, who heads the firm’s national litigation section. He will serve as partner in charge of practice management. The nominations made over the weekend will be approved through a majority partnership vote, scheduled to be completed May 3. “When it comes to the executive team, [we] were looking at the very best leaders,” Cranston said Thursday. “This is a big job, a very complicated job. It takes a lot of stamina.” Cranston said she didn’t think it would be such a big change for Pillsbury to have a firm chair based in Century City. “The notion that Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman is a San Francisco [firm] is outdated and a very San Francisco-centric view,” she says. The transition represents a wholesale leadership change for Pillsbury, which, after two large mergers on Cranston’s eight-year watch, saw revenue per lawyer and profits per partner stagnate last year. In addition to the executive team, the firm has also selected a brand new board, pending ratification by the entire partnership. Four board members are from the Shaw Pittman side of the firm: Northern Virginia partner Richard Donaldson and D.C. partners Wendelin White, Robert Zahler and Huttler. Robin Spear and Richard Epling will come from the firm’s New York office. Lastly, six members will serve from Pillsbury’s California offices: S.F. partners Sarah Flanagan and Robert James, Orange County partner Craig Barbarosh, Silicon Valley partner Jorge del Calvo, San Diego partner David Snyder and Rishwain. “Whenever you have merged firms, you have partners that know each other on a deeper level in their legacy firms. All of our business goals are designed to create deep bonds across legacy firm lines,” said Cranston. “[The nominating committee] wanted to make sure that all of the legacy firm affinity groups had good representation.” After she steps down as chair, Cranston will stay on as senior partner in an advisory role to management. She will also do business development and training. Firmwide Managing Partner Marina Park is taking a break to spend time with her family over the summer before returning to practice. She will likely resume some role in management, Cranston said. “Marina is one of the most talented, competent and beloved partners in this firm,” she said. “And she will always have a very central role.” The changes come amid growing pains for the firm. Following the merger of Pillsbury Winthrop and Shaw Pittman last April, the firm saw a slight dip in partner profits for 2005. Earlier this week, the firm saw the defection of six Pillsbury partners to Goodwin Procter, including Lewis Feldman, who was one of the firm’s highest compensated lawyers. Legal consultant Peter Zeughauser didn’t know Rishwain, but he did call Huttler a “seasoned manager.” Still, he added, “It will be a lot of new blood, and Pillsbury has been through a period of great change. It will be interesting to see if they hold the course or do something different.” Neither Rishwain nor Huttler were available for comment as of press time Thursday. But Cranston said there has been a great deal of conferencing throughout the selection process, and she doesn’t expect the firm’s strategy to change. “The consensus is strongly to continue on the path that we have been following for a number of years,” Cranston said. That means continuing to grow, she said, to serve national and international clients. The firm selected a nominating committee that will serve for three years, Cranston said. Those dozen or so members took nominations from roughly 40 partners, then conducted research and interviews to select the board. The board members will serve one-, two- or three-year staggered terms to ensure continuity, she said. “In my eight years as leader, one of the jobs was to do training and leadership development of several other partners to take on the job,” she said. “There were good potential candidates, and many of them were picked to be on the board.”

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