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The first two weeks of 2008 already have marked an abundance of lateral hires among partners making a switch for better opportunities � or so they hope � at some of the nation’s biggest law firms. Each January, law firms issue a deluge of announcements that tout the successes of incoming lateral partners wooed from competitors. The first month of the year is particularly popular for such moves, since those lawyers have closed out the previous year at their old firms and can start fresh at their new firms. So far, the areas of practice for lateral hires are across the board, though movement in bankruptcy and finance already look particularly active. DLA’s gain In one of the more prominent switches to date, DLA Piper has recruited William Goldman from Sidley Austin to join its restructuring and bankruptcy practice group in New York. Goldman’s hire is part of a push by DLA Piper to enhance its corporate and finance practice, headed by Roger Meltzer, whom the firm hired from Cahill Gordon & Reindel a year ago. The chance to build on the momentum created by Meltzer was a big selling point for Goldman, 61.”I can participate in the growth,” he said. “This was the time in my career to go do something else.” Joining the finance and bankruptcy practice group at Los Angeles’ Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton is Margaret Mann from Heller Ehrman, where she led the restructuring and insolvency practice. Sheppard Mullin sought to add a partner after San Diego partner Laura Taylor was appointed a judge to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California, effective this month. Another lateral bankruptcy hire this year is Andrew Currie by Washington-based Venable. Previously at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Currie focuses on restructuring, out-of-court workouts, insolvencies and litigation. Business stemming from the breakdown of the subprime mortgage industry has Venable bracing for increased work, said Venable bankruptcy practice chairman Greg Cross in a Jan. 8 statement announcing Currie’s hire as a partner. Lots of lateral hopscotching is likely among bankruptcy attorneys in 2008, said Jon Lindsey, a managing partner with Major, Lindsey & Africa, a legal search firm. With more companies expected to file bankruptcy because of a weakening economy, law firms will seek talent to handle the work, he said. Thus far in January, lateral hiring also is active in the broader area of corporate finance. Joining Dechert’s Boston office as a partner from Goodwin Procter is Geoffrey Kenyon. And moving to Winston & Strawn are six partners from Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman; they are opening a Charlotte, N.C., office for Chicago-based Winston. Corporate and securities hires include private equity partner David Denechaud to Houston’s Andrews Kurth from Dechert and two partners to Greenberg Traurig’s corporate and securities department in Miami from Tew Cardenas. The number of lateral shifts among intellectual property attorneys, particularly in litigation, will remain robust, Lindsey said. On Jan. 7, New York’s Morgan & Finnegan announced that it was adding as a partner Jeremy Pitcock, former leader of the intellectual property litigation practice at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman. That same day, Washington’s Dickstein Shapiro said it brought aboard Charles Ossola, a former senior partner at Arnold & Porter. In addition, New Orleans-based McGlinchey Stafford said on Jan. 2 that it had acquired Sieberth & Patty, a five-attorney intellectual property boutique.

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