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All those who believe First Amendment star Rex Heinke walked away from his Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partnership because of an irresistible urge to do more appellate work, think again. When lawyers ditch 675-lawyer Gibson, Dunn it’s because 1) they want to start their own firms, or 2) they are reinventing themselves as scriptwriters or sandal makers. What Heinke did this fall is different. After 23 years with a firm that comes closer than any other to being a household name in Los Angeles, he left for appellate boutique Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland. The widely distributed explanation for this season’s most intriguing career move was that “appellate work is very interesting and exciting,” as Heinke puts it. “It doesn’t play because there’s no reason he can’t do appellate work at Gibson, Dunn,” says litigator Don Howarth. So maybe it’s “flexibility” that stands out. At the new firm, associates can just attend the PLI sessions of the world and turn in the bill, he says. No committees to run it by, no hoops to jump through, no Pope’s rings to kiss.

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