Less than a month after adding a half dozen new partners to its New York operation, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, the self-proclaimed “fastest-growing law firm” in Big Law, has added partner Deborah Renner, the New York head of Baker & Hostetler’s class action practice.
Renner, who officially joined the litigation shop Monday, focuses her practice on commercial litigation, including the defense of data breach, consumer fraud and securities class actions.
Renner began her legal career at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 1993. Three years later, she joined Chicago-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, making partner in 2004. There, she began doing class action work and for over two decades has defended companies in nationwide, multidistrict and state class actions.
Then in 2009, she joined Baker & Hostetler, where she represented several high-profile clients, including working as the lead attorney for Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC that resulted in a multi-billion dollar settlement. She also represented class action plaintiffs against Madoff that resulted in two settlements of $543 million.
Renner said her move to Pierce Bainbridge is a part of a long desire to work with both plaintiffs and defendants in class actions.
“I’d like to bring meritorious class actions and also defend meritorious class actions for companies, and a lot of firms just don’t allow that,” Renner said. “I wanted a firm that followed that model so I would have the flexibility to be on both sides of the V.”
Pierce Bainbridge was started by former Latham & Watkins and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner John Pierce following his sudden departure in 2016 from K&L Gates, where he briefly served as the co-head of its litigation group.
First founded as Pierce Sergenian in 2017 by Pierce and his Quinn Emanuel colleague David Sergenian, who has since left the firm, the litigation boutique has undergone several iterations in its short lifespan while rapidly expanding its ranks across the country.
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles-based firm brought on solo practitioner James Bainbridge and several other lawyers to open in New York. And just last month, Pierce Bainbridge added six partners in the Big Apple, including former Davis Polk & Wardwell partner Patrick Bradford, the first African-American equity partner at the New York firm.
In addition to its expansion efforts, Pierce Bainbridge, which secured litigation funding from Scottsdale, Arizona-based litigation financier Pravati Capital, has also picked up roles on high-profile matters, including several class actions.
In August Pierce Bainbridge was one of the first to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Facebook shareholders following the social media network’s $120 billion stock drop in July. Earlier this week, the firm announced it was investigating a possible class action lawsuit in connection with the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Renner said she was impressed by Pierce Bainbridge’s level of talent and collaboration, which is vital in her practice.
“Class action work—it takes a team,” Renner said. “You really have to have teamwork and collaboration. No one person wins a case or comes up with a winning strategy.”
In addition to Renner, Pierce Bainbridge also added Labaton Sucharow class action litigator Claiborne Hane as an associate in New York.
“Pierce Bainbridge already has the best general commercial, intellectual property, and white collar practices in the world by a wide margin. The addition of Deborah Renner from Baker Hostetler, who will join Clay Hane from Labaton Sucharow, takes us one step closer to domination in our Rule 23 class action practice, both on the plaintiff and defense sides,” Pierce said in an email.
“The most talented lawyers from the top Am Law 200 firms are seeing very clearly that we are the future. This is still just the beginning of the talent the market will see flood to our cutting-edge, mission-oriented, happy-warrior litigation platform in the months to come,” he added.