Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is tapping the lateral market once again to expand its litigation presence in Washington, D.C.
Quinn Emanuel, which launched in the nation’s capital in 2011, announced Wednesday that it is welcoming Cleary Gottlieb Hamilton & Steen partner Juan Morillo, who will cochair the firm’s Washington, D.C. white collar and corporate investigations group.
Morillo, who focuses on white-collar defense and also handles internal investigations for major corporate clients, was selected as one of The American Lawyer’s Fab 50 Young Litigators in 2007 when he was a partner at Sidley Austin. He left Sidley later that year to join Clifford Chance, where he would eventually head up the U.S. litigation and dispute resolution practice before moving to Cleary in 2011.
Firm managing partner John Quinn said in a statement: “We have been working hard over the last decade to expand our international footprint. This is another big step in that direction. Juan has built an impeccable reputation in the international white-collar bar representing foreign companies in high-profile cases.”
In April, William Burck, a former Weil, Gotshal & Manges partner who is now cohead of Quinn Emanuel’s D.C. office, recruited two of his former Weil colleagues—litigators Michael Lyle and Eric Lyttle—to join him at his new firm, according to our prior reporting. Both Lyttle and Lyle—the former head of Weil’s D.C. office—have extensive experience representing foreign companies such as Japanese fiber manufacturer Toyobo in major investigations and litigation. Quinn Emanuel’s other notable D.C. hires include Sam Sheldon, the former head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s health care fraud unit, earlier this year, and IP litigator Jeffrey Gerchick, who joined the office last year from Kenyon & Kenyon, where he represented clients in IP matters before the International Trade Commission.
While at Cleary, Morillo was recently reported by Reuters to be representing Cayman Islands investment holding company Alpine Swift in connection with an insider trading investigation related to trades in H.J. Heinz Company, which was bought earlier this year by billionaire Warren Buffett and investment firm 3G Capital for $28 billion. Morillo’s other clients have included the son of Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, whom the attorney represented in connection with the U.S. government’s civil forfeiture involving Mbasogo’s son’s $38 million jet. (The younger Mbasogo eventually kept the jet, after a federal judge partially dismissed the government’s case earlier this year.)
Morillo, who was not available for comment Wednesday, said in a statement provided by his new firm that it was “a privilege to have been a partner at Cleary” and that he wished his former firm the best. At the same time, he said he is looking forward to building “the premier international white-collar practice” at Quinn Emanuel: “[Quinn Emanuel's] pure litigation model, aggressive expansion overseas and the opportunity to help grow the D.C. office and international white-collar defense practice presented a compelling opportunity.”
A Cleary spokeswoman tells The Am Law Daily that “the firm wishes Juan the best in his new endeavor.”
Since Quinn Emanuel opened in D.C. two years ago with a trio of Alston & Bird partners, it has expanded its office in the city to the point that with the addition of Morillo, it now boasts more than a dozen partners there. Quinn Emanuel ranked 28th on The American Lawyer’s 2013 Am Law 100 ranking with gross revenues of $852.5 million and profits per partner of $4.435 million. Cleary landed at No. 15 on the most recent Am Law rankings, with gross revenues of $1.131 billion and profits per partner of $2.685 million.
Meanwhile, in another notable lateral move in D.C., Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher said Wednesday that it has hired Scott Hammond as a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, according to Am Law Daily sibling publication The National Law Journal. Hammond, who will start at Gibson Dunn in January, is moving into private practice after 25 years in the DOJ’s antitrust division, where he most recently served as the division’s deputy assistant attorney general for criminal enforcement.