Patton Boggs has poached a four-lawyer team from Edwards Wildman & Palmer in New York and Washington, D.C., to launch a public finance practice for the firm.

The new hires are partners ALPHONSO TINDALL JR. in New York and ALETHIA NANCOO in D.C., and of counsel SANI WILLIAMS and DEBORAH HARTMANN HENRY, both in New York. The team, which started at Patton Boggs on Oct. 21, advises on public and project finance matters in the United States and abroad, as well as private fund investment and infrastructure transactions.

Tindall said Tuesday that the practice will complement Patton Boggs’s existing expertise in government relations and legislative work. “We were constantly getting phone calls and had options to do other things,” Tindall says, noting that Patton Boggs first approached them a few months ago. “We were intrigued at the idea of creating this union.”

Patton Boggs’s New York office head, John Nonna, said a mutual friend introduced him to Tindall and they quickly became interested in the group. “We’ve been looking to expand our transactional practice in New York, and this brings in public finance, pension fund investments work that’s compatible with our representation of municipalities and public policy practice.”

The new hire announcement comes days after Reuters reported that Patton Boggs is in merger talks with Texas-based Locke Lord, citing three sources outside the firms.

Patton Boggs managing partner Edward Newberry was not available for comment Tuesday on the new hires or the merger rumors. Nonna says he can’t comment on the merger reports but called them “premature.” He adds: “There’s so much merger talk in the industry these days, we get approached by firms, have discussions. I think this is developing into more than it is.”

Tindall said he “was not affected one way or the other by the rumors” but that he believes “anything that’s going to make the enterprise better is attractive. … Growth, to me, is an important part of the process.”

In other Churn news …

ALAN YANOVICH has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Geneva after leaving the World Trade Organization’s appellate body secretariat, where he served as counselor since 2004. Yanovich, who is currently working as a consultant at Akin but is slated to become senior counsel, advises foreign governments and multinational corporations on disputes before the WTO and other international dispute-resolution bodies.

JUAN TRUJILLO has jumped from Arnold & Porter to Bingham McCutchen’s New York office as a partner. His practice focuses on corporate work related to Latin America, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, foreign direct investment and restructuring transactions.

Am Law 200 firm Dinsmore & Shohl lost a partner in Cincinnati, MICHAEL MANZLER, to Buckley King. Manzler joins Buckley King as a partner and as chair of the firm’s labor and employment practice.

Faegre Baker Daniels has expanded its environmental practice with the hire of KEVIN LYSKOWSKI as a partner in its Washington, D.C., office. Lyskowski—most recently senior counsel in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice—represents manufacturing, energy, agricultural and municipal clients in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions.

The pending closure of Denver labor and employment firm Stettner Miller has sent four labor and employment attorneys to the Denver office of Fisher & Phillips. BRUCE ANDERSON and SUSAN SCHAECHER will be partners when the group joins November 1, ROBERT MILLER will be senior of counsel, and KATE RAABE will be of counsel.

JOSE FERNANDEZ has come to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he will advise on mergers and acquisitions and finance transactions in emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Fernandez, who joins the New York office as a partner, was previously the assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of State’s economic, energy and business affairs bureau.

Husch Blackwell has a new senior counsel, KARIN JACOBY, in its Kansas City, Mo., office. Jacoby is the founder of Spica Consulting, a civil engineering firm that concentrates on reducing flood risk and assisting with water resources management. Jacoby plans to continue serving as president at Spica Consulting while practicing for Husch Blackwell’s real estate, development and construction groups.

PAUL GIBBONS has moved from intellectual property boutique Niro, Haller & Niro to the Boston office of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. A partner, Gibbons concentrates on patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret and trade dress litigation.

JON WELLINGHOFF, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is slated to join Stoel Rivers when his term expires at the end of the year. Wellinghoff will be a partner focused on energy matters and will alternate his time between the firm’s San Francisco and Washington, D.C., offices.

The Churn is compiled from law firm releases and announcements. Moves based on our own reporting will note this. Please send all announcements and news releases to