Dentons partners Paul Charlton, left, and Karl Tilleman, right.

Dentons has hired nine lawyers in Phoenix from Steptoe & Johnson LLP, which is closing its office in the Arizona capital, the firms said Monday.

Steptoe’s Phoenix office opened in 1987 and by midday Monday still had 15 Phoenix-based lawyers listed on its website. A spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based firm said in a statement that maintaining an office in Phoenix “is not aligned with the strategic direction of the firm.”

The lawyers headed to Dentons are all in the firm’s litigation department and are led by partners Karl Tilleman and Paul Charlton.

Tilleman, a first-chair trial lawyer, is a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Warren Burger. He also played on the Canadian National Basketball Team in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games.

Charlton, who joined Dentons’ white-collar and investigations group, was formerly the U.S. attorney for Arizona from 2001 to 2007.

Also joining Dentons as partners are Erin Bradham and Quintin Cushner. Two counsel joined the firm from Steptoe, including Doug Janicik and Jason Sanders, as well as three associates, Dentons said in a release.

“We could not be more enthusiastic to have made the move to Dentons,” said Tilleman in a statement. “The U.S. and global footprint is critical to the growth and expansion of our practices.”

In a statement explaining the firm’s decision to retreat from Phoenix, a Steptoe spokeswoman said the firm’s strategic plan focuses on growth “in priority practices in key regulatory and financial markets in the United States, Europe and Asia.”

“This decision was reached at a time of renewed strength for Steptoe, which recorded its best financial year ever in 2018,” the statement said. “Revenue, revenue per lawyer and profits per partner all set new records. In recent months, the firm has also added several new partners in our other offices, and that growth will be continuing in 2019 with several new partners in the pipeline.”

In January, Steptoe added former Boies Schiller & Flexner partner Robyn Crowther, who is now co-managing partner of Steptoe’s Los Angeles office.

As for Dentons, the global firm has been busy building out its U.S. presence. The firm has added 40 litigators to its national practice in the past 18 months, Dentons U.S CEO Mike McNamara said in a statement.

The news of Steptoe closing its Phoenix office was first reported by legal news website Arizona Attorney, and the Dentons hires were initially reported by Phoenix Business Journal.