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In rare move, Latham to open two offices in Spain Few U.S. law firms have sallied forth into the Spanish legal market, but Latham & Watkins is changing that. Promising that the firm isn’t tilting at windmills, Latham recently announced that it will open offices in Madrid and Barcelona on Jan. 1. “Spain is actually a very strong economy in Europe and has been extremely active in the private equity markets,” said Latham’s chairman and managing partner, Robert Dell. Latham lured mergers and acquisitions hotshot Jose Luis Blanco from the large Spanish law firm Cuatrecasas to head up its new operation, which will be based in Madrid. Littler nears merger with Cleveland firm Labor and employment firm Littler Mendelson, based in San Francisco, is nearing a merger agreement with 47-lawyer Cleveland labor and employment boutique Duvin, Cahn & Hutton, according to the two firms. The combined firm would have 585 lawyers in 39 offices and could become one of the country’s 100 top-grossing law firms. “We’ve been looking hard to expand our reach by adding quality people,” said Marko Mrkonich, Littler’s president and managing partner. “We’ve been more concerned with quality people than geographic location, but when you’ve got that together with a good geographic location it’s a real hit.” AG-elect in N.Y. makes several key appointments New York Attorney General-elect Andrew Cuomo reached into New York City’s two U.S. attorney’s offices and the city Fire Department in making three recent top-level appointments. Cuomo tapped Robin L. Baker, deputy chief of appeals in the Southern District, to be his executive deputy attorney general for criminal justice; Eric Corngold, chief assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District, as executive deputy attorney general for economic justice; and Mylan L. Denerstein, deputy fire commissioner for legal affairs, as executive deputy attorney general for social justice. The three positions are new and will be on the same level as Michele Hirshman, who as first deputy attorney general under Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, was the No. 2 official in the office and oversaw all of the office’s trial-level operations. Duane Morris opens in Baltimore with DLA hires Duane Morris has opened a Baltimore office with the addition of three partners and one senior counsel, all formerly of DLA Piper. The new additions will focus their work in the corporate practice group, handling venture capital and private equity work, mergers and acquisitions and securities law work. The new partners are Jay Gordon Cohen, Keli Isaacson and George Nemphos. Wilbert Sirota will join as senior counsel. The Philadelphia firm said Baltimore is part of a strategic expansion to broaden its services in the mid-Atlantic region. N.Y.’s Dewey sees more departures before merger Washington’s Covington & Burling has recruited three New York partners from Dewey Ballantine. Benjamin Hoch and Dianne Coffino are joining Covington’s bankruptcy practice, while Jack S. Bodner is joining the mergers and acquisitions group. They are the latest partners to leave New York’s Dewey ahead of an anticipated merger with bicoastal Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. That merger, which will create a 1,400-lawyer firm called Dewey Orrick, is expected to receive final approval in mid-January. Hoch had been co-chairman of Dewey Ballatine’s bankruptcy group and his and Coffino’s departure leaves Dewey with only one New York partner in that practice area. The group’s other co-head, Alan Gover, left last month to join White & Case. D.C.’s Arent Fox makes a move on Los Angeles Washington-based Arent Fox will enter Los Angeles next month by absorbing O’Brien Abeles, a nine-lawyer litigation boutique. The new Los Angeles office will also bring in two laterals, including Pierre-Richard Prosper, the former U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues. Arent Fox’s clients had expressed a desire for the firm to have a West Coast presence; several clients worked with O’Brien on the West Coast and Arent on the East Coast, said O’Brien partner Jerrold Abeles. Also joining the Los Angeles office is Steven Bledsoe, a partner in Kirkland & Ellis’ Los Angeles office. Two Arent Fox partners will relocate from East Coast offices to bring the L.A. office’s head count to 13. Arent Fox, a 300-lawyer firm, posted revenue of $153 million and profits per equity partner of $650,000 in 2005.

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