The Churn

BARRY EPSTEIN has joined Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis as a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office. Epstein, who was previously with Fitzgerald Abbot & Beardsley, will practice in Allen Matkins’ land use and environmental and natural resource group, as well as the firm’s infrastructure, energy and utility group.

Arnold & Porter has opened a Houston office after poaching a team of Hogan Lovells attorneys specializing in complex litigation. The new arrivals include partners THAD THANO DAMERIS, who headed Hogan’s Houston office and will fill the same position at A&P, CHRISTOPHER ODELL and DAVID WEINER, who will work out of his new firm’s Washington, D.C., office. TREVOR JEFFERIES is also joining A&P from Hogan in an of counsel role. Sibling publication Texas Lawyer has more on the move.

SAMUEL FELKER has joined Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz’s Nashville office as a shareholder in the firm’s product liability and mass torts group. Felker was previously with Bass, Berry & Sims, where he led the product liability and mass torts practice. Baker Donelson has also added JAMES TALLEY as a shareholder in its business litigation group. Talley, who will be based in Baker Donelson’s Orlando office, was previously a partner at Orlando firm Fisher, Rushmer, Werrenrath, Dickson, Talley & Dunlap.

Baker & McKenize has added partner ALEX PANKRATZ to its global tax practice in Toronto. Pankratz, who was previously with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, counsels clients in a variety of industries in connection with Canadian tax matters related to, among other things, public and private M&A transactions.

Blank Rome is set to open a San Francisco office and beef up its Los Angeles and New York locations after hiring a total of 21 lawyers, including five partners and various counsel, from West Coast firms Finestone & Richter and Margolis & Tisman. The new partners arriving from the latter firm include name partners MICHAEL MARGOLIS and STEPHEN TISMAN, both of whom are corporate litigators, and JASON KIM, who joins Blank Rome’s corporate, M&A and securities group. Joining Blank Rome as partners from Finestone & Richter are that firm’s name partners WILLIAM FINESTONE and JEFFREY RICHTER. Sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer has more about the group hire. Blank Rome has also added intellectual property litigator CHRISTOPHER HU from Dickstein Shapiro as of counsel in New York.

KATHLEEN “KITTY” JUNIPER has joined Buchalter Nemer’s Orange County, Calif., office as of counsel. Previously with Hooper Lundy & Bookman in San Diego, Juniper specializes in health care–related matters, including Knox-Keene plan regulation, provider integration and health care reform, managed care contracting and regulation, and commercial and corporate practice restrictions.

CHRISTINA HOUSTON has lateraled from K&L Gates to DLA Piper. Based in Wilmington, Houston is a corporate and finance partner who advises clients on issues affecting alternative business structures such as limited liability companies and partnerships. DLA Piper also hired ANNE FRIEDMAN as of counsel in Los Angeles from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Friedman joins DLA’s technology, sourcing and commercial practice.

The San Diego office of Duane Morris now counts GRANT PULEO and DAWN HALL CUNNEEN as partners. Puleo handles real estate, finance joint ventures and business transactions. Cunneen joins the wealth planning practice group, focusing on estate planning and administration as well as trusts and estates litigation. The pair join Duane Morris from Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch.

Foley & Lardner welcomes FRANCIS BURKE as a litigation partner in its government enforcement, compliance and white-collar defense practice. Burke, who will divide his time between the firm’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices, is a former federal prosecutor who chaired Seyfarth Shaw’s Los Angeles litigation department before joining Foley.

SAMUEL MEGERDITCHIAN has joined Gibbons as counsel in the firm’s intellectual property department in Newark following a stint as senior counsel at Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. Megerditchian is an experienced patent agent and attorney who concentrates in developing, managing and enforcing patent portfolios.

Holland & Knight has added litigator JOHN KERN as a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office. Kern, who was most recently at partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, focuses his practice on commercial, intellectual property and health care litigation.

BRUCE OLCOTT has joined Jones Day as partner in the firm’s government regulation practice in Washington, D.C. Olcott, who was previously a partner at Squire Sanders, focuses on wireless, satellite and wireline communications industry matters. Jones Day has also added ALESSANDRO CORNO as a private equity partner in the firm’s Milan office. Corno, who joins his new firm along with two associates, was previously with DLA Piper, where he led the investment management and fund practice in Milan.

A pair of veteran white-collar defense lawyers, DIXIE JOHNSON and WILLIAM JOHNSON, have left Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where they served as coheads of the SEC and white-collar criminal defense groups, to become partners in King & Spalding’s government investigations and special matters practice. (Dixie Johnson, who is based in Washington, D.C., and William Johnson, who works out of New York, are not related.)

Nixon Peabody welcomes ALEXANDRA MARGOLIS as a finance partner in the firm’s New York office. Margolis, who was previously with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, represents corporate borrowers, financial institutions, private equity sponsors, strategic investors and investment funds in domestic and international financing transactions.

Polsinelli has bolstered its business department with the addition of three attorneys who specialize in transactional matters. Shareholders PHILIP FEIGEN, who arrives from Patton Boggs, and KEVIN VOLD, who was most recently with Hogan Lovells, are based in Washington, D.C. Senior partner ROBERT CUDD, who was previously at Morrison & Foerster, will be based in Polsinelli’s New York office.

Two partners from Shook, Hardy & Bacon have defected to Norton Rose Fulbright in Washington, D.C. MICHAEL KOON and CAROL POINDEXTER are life sciences and health care specialists with experience in government and regulatory investigations.

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart has hired MARIA FERNANDEZ GANDAREZ as a shareholder in New York. An immigration specialist, Gandarez joins from Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy.

Sidley Austin’s new coglobal coordinator of its tax controversy practice is recent hire MATTHEW LERNER. A partner in Washington, D.C., who was previously with Steptoe & Johnson, Lerner focuses on federal taxation.

Steptoe & Johnson, meanwhile, is poised to open a Silicon Valley office in Palo Alto, Calif., and expand its intellectual property practice after recruiting three partners from King & Spalding. Joining Steptoe are patent litigator WILLIAM ABRAMS, who will serve as managing partner of the new office, SANJEET DUTTA and BOYD CLOERN, who will be based in Washington, D.C. Sibling publication The Recorder has more on the move.

In Hong Kong, Weil, Gotshal & Manges has brought on ALBERT CHO as a partner in the global private funds group from Kirkland & Ellis. Cho focuses his practice on the formation of private investment funds.

MICHAEL BOOE has left K&L Gates, where he was a partner, to become a partner in the Charlotte, N.C., office of Winston & Strawn. In making the move, Booe, who focuses his practice primarily on single lender and syndicated corporate and commercial financing transactions, reunites with a group of former K&L Gates colleagues who jumped to Winston last year.

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