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Perhaps it’s not unusual these days for a partner to be working at a tiny boutique one day and a behemoth the next. Three years ago, real estate attorney Gale Connor was part of 14-lawyer Berg & Parker. That boutique combined with Preston Gates & Ellis in 2005 to form a 400-plus lawyer firm, which then swelled to 1,400 through a merger with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham in January. So after holding several leadership positions — including managing partner of Preston Gates’ San Francisco office in 2006 — Connor is going back to his roots. On Monday Connor left K&L Gates to join the San Francisco office of Nossaman Guthner Knox & Elliott. He says his move to Nossaman — a firm with 130 lawyers, four California offices and several out-of-state branches — was a logical step. “At the end of the day, my practice is very regional,” Connor, who focuses on eminent domain, said. “To go back to a regional firm with an emphasis on real estate, eminent domain and infrastructure work actually makes a great deal of sense for my practice.” Connor, whose clients include the cities of Palo Alto, Hercules, Santa Clara and Morgan Hill, said billing rate pressures played a role in his decision, although K&L was “very generous” in “allowing me to set my own billing rates this year.” He would not disclose his rates, though he said he will not be slashing them at Nossaman. “Real estate and eminent domain are both strong suits of Nossaman, and Gale is a natural fit; we’re very pleased to have him join the firm,” Nossaman Managing Partner Michael Heumann said in a prepared statement.

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