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In early September, Vinson & Elkins announced it had hired Barbara Smithers, former chief counsel for transactions at International Paper Company, as counsel. She joined the firm’s corporate finance, private equity, and securities law practice . . . Dechert snagged two reverse commuters. Kathleen O’Connor came aboard as a partner in the firm’s mass torts and product liability practice. She spent four years as assistant counsel at Merck & Co., Inc. Jeffrey Brennan also became a partner, joining the firm from the Federal Trade Commission, where he was associate director of the Bureau of Competition . . . Donald Remy started work as a partner in the litigation department at Latham & Watkins. He came to the firm from Fannie Mae, where he was deputy GC and chief compliance officer . . . Gibbons, Del Deo added Robert Needle as counsel in its business and commercial litigation department and as a member of its insurance practice team. Needle was previously with Aon Corporation . . . Leonard Young joined Cleveland’s Walter & Haverfield as a partner in the business section. He had been GC and assistant secretary for the Ferro Corporation . . . William Nordwind, former counsel for the House energy and commerce subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, jumped to Venable as a partner in its legislative and government affairs group . . . Greenberg Traurig hired Robert Dinerstein as a shareholder in its New York office. He had been vice-chairman for the Americas and senior corporate counsel at UBS Investment Bank . . . Sheldon Steinbach, longtime GC of the American Council on Education, joined the higher education practice at Dow Lohnes . . . Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver welcomed William Thomas as a principal in its commercial finance and financial institutions practice. Thomas previously served as deputy GC for Allfirst Bank.

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