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The managing partner of Littler Mendelson’s San Francisco office is leaving after 17 years with the employment defense firm to start his own plaintiff shop. Eric Grover, 41, who over the years served on Littler’s board of directors, the governance committee and the compensation committee, has joined forces with plaintiff solo Jeffrey Keller. He is going from a firm of 395, with offices in 28 cities throughout the U.S., to a San Francisco firm with seven attorneys. His last day at Littler was Oct. 14. “I like Littler a lot,” Grover said. “But over a period of time I found my personality more suited to the plaintiff than the defense side.” As a plaintiffs lawyer, Grover will pursue work in the employment area: individual discrimination, harassment, retaliation employment claims — and he hopes to develop a practice doing wage-and-hour class actions. He’ll probably continue to do some defense work for selected clients. For instance, he is still representing Neiman Marcus in two ongoing litigation matters. Grover says he would be conflicted out of suing former clients, and he wouldn’t want to for ethical reasons. Still, he expects to work opposite some of his former partners. Grover says he first was introduced to Keller by a mutual friend, plaintiffs attorney Jill Manning. She had worked with Keller on Visa Check/Master Money antitrust litigation. Keller also works on consumer class actions. Wendy Tice-Wallner, who chairs Littler’s board, said Grover just reached a point of wanting to do something different. “Eric’s departure was a surprise,” she acknowledged, adding also that, “as with everything Eric did, he handled himself professionally, and there are nothing but good feelings on both sides.”

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