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Managing Partners Move On Managing partners have contracted a bad case of wanderlust of late. Michael O’Brien, previously the managing partner of King & Spalding’s New York office, has skipped on over to WilmerHale. O’Brien, who ran King & Spalding’s New York operations for four years, credits the move to WilmerHale’s “stronger platform” for his mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and all-around corporate practice. The cherry on top of O’Brien’s business this year was his representation of Caremark RX Inc. in its merger with CVS, a $26 billion transaction. “He has a wealth of experience, and we’re really pleased to have attracted him,” says William Perlstein, WilmerHale’s co-managing partner, adding, “One of our strategic goals in New York is to expand our corporate practice there.” The firm also wants to bolster its securities, litigation, and hedge fund work. Proskauer Rose snagged a managing partner as well. Trevor Chaplick, formerly the managing partner of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s D.C. operations, practices corporate law, but he’s also sticking with management. Chaplick will co-head Proskauer’s D.C. office in addition to representing private and public companies and private equity groups. Chaplick says he wasn’t in the market, but the opportunity was too good to pass up, especially with the firm’s plans to open up shop overseas. “They’re pushing to expand internationally, and that was intriguing to me,” says Chaplick, noting that it’s that push that he hopes to be a part of. Popping By There were some thrills over at Venable when the King of Pop stopped by the firm’s D.C. office for a late July visit. But was it a legal matter that prompted Michael Jackson to put in an appearance? Or was the lure of the firm’s well-chronicled rooftop bocce ball tournament [see "All for the Love of Bocce," July 30, Page 40] just too much for the pop star’s competitive side to resist? The firm is keeping quiet on just why Jackson dropped by, as is Jackson’s publicist. But Venable has been representing Jackson since at least 2006, making good use of its year-old Los Angeles office. Ben Whitwell, a partner in L.A., is handling an insurance contract dispute for Jackson and his company, MJJ Productions, which are being sued by Travelers Indemnity Co. in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. According to recent court filings, however, it looks as though the two are moonwalking toward a settlement. This isn’t the first famous client the Baltimore-based firm has picked up. Tiger Woods also calls the firm home, when it comes to legal disputes, that is. Deals in the District What’s the big deal? Latham & Watkins found out when it provided counsel to Republic Property Trust, a real estate investment trust, in a merger. Liberty Property Trust acquired Republic at the end of last month in a deal that nudged the billion-dollar mark, coming in just shy at around $850 million. Republic owns commercial office buildings throughout the District and Northern Virginia. The Latham & Watkins team was led by Michael Schlesinger and Scott Herlihy, both corporate partners in the District. Venable’s Baltimore office provided Maryland counsel for Republic, with partner James Hanks Jr. leading the charge. In other D.C. deal news, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represented the Corporate Executive Board, a publicly traded company based in the District that advises corporate executives and other higher-ups, in a $59 million acquisition of Information Technology Toolbox Inc., which runs an online community where techies and other professionals go to share information. Mayer, Brown Showdown Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw’s legal woes have become, well, a little more woeful. The firm got hit with a $245 million lawsuit by Thomas H. Lee Partners, the private equity group that had a controlling stake in Refco Inc., a now-bankrupt company that Mayer, Brown represented. The suit, filed two weeks ago, alleges that Mayer, Brown assisted Refco in fraudulent activities. The firm is being represented by Williams & Connolly attorney John Villa, who offered a summary assessment of the case: “The firm’s reviewed the suit and finds it without merit. We will defend the lawsuit vigorously and are confident of a positive resolution of the matter.” The firm is also facing a $17 million lawsuit in conjunction with its representation of the bankrupt health care company CMGT.
Keeping Score is Legal Times’ weekly column devoted to the legal business scene. Got a tip? Contact Senior Editor Douglas McCollam at [email protected].

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