UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: 1/29/14, 12:30 p.m. EST. Additional compensation information on the UJA’s top executive has been added to the 11th, 12th and 13th paragraphs of this story.
The year’s busiest month for lateral moves draws to a close this week with two prominent lawyers passing one another in the ever-popular revolving door.
Morrison & Foerster announced Monday its hire of CHARLES DUROSS, who last Friday stepped down from his position as the U.S. Department of Justice’s top Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcer.
A former Kirkland & Ellis associate, Duross told sibling publication The Litigation Daily that he spoke with a half-dozen firms about possibilities in the private sector before reaching his decision to join MoFo in Washington, D.C. Duross will officially take over the firm’s global anticorruption practice on Feb. 17.
Also switching sides next month is BENJAMIN ROSENBERG, Dechert’s white-collar and securities litigation cochair in New York, who, according to a press release issued Monday by the New York County District Attorney’s Office, will become its new general counsel on Feb. 17.
Rosenberg will replace outgoing general counsel Caitlin Halligan, a former Weil, Gotshal & Manges appellate practice leader who left the office earlier this month to return to the private sector, according to sibling publication the New York Law Journal. (Daniel Alonso, a former Kaye Scholer litigation partner and chief assistant district attorney, is poised to step down on Feb. 1.)
Rosenberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his decision to leave Dechert—where he has been a partner since 1994, save for an 18-month stint as chief trial counsel to former New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo—for the public sector. An adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, he began his career as an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
Of course, it’s not only large firms and government agencies that are picking up top lawyers this week. The New York Law Journal reported Monday that ERIC GOLDSTEIN, a litigation partner with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York, will leave the firm this summer to head one of the nation’s largest Jewish charities.
The UJA–Federation of of New York announced late last week its hire of Goldstein to become its new CEO on July 1. Goldstein, 54, was praised by JPMorgan Chase general counsel Stephen Cutler in a story in The American Lawyer this month honoring Paul Weiss as its Securities Litigation Department of the Year.
In a statement on Goldstein’s transition to the UJA, Paul Weiss chair Brad Karp said Goldstein’s “commitment to helping those in need has been a hallmark of his successful career at Paul Weiss, where he served our clients with distinction and chaired our pro bono committee.”
Unlike a move to the public sector that would likely have resulted in a sizable pay cut, by heading to the New York–based UJA, a charitable organization with a $220 million annual budget, Goldstein has the potential to at least match his Paul Weiss earnings if he sticks around long enough.
The nonprofit’s most recent tax filing for 2011 shows that it paid outgoing CEO John Ruskay nearly $3.3 million in compensation, roughly equivalent to the profits per partner at Paul Weiss, according to Am Law 100 financial data. But the UJA says that Ruskay’s pay package that year represents the culmination of his 15-year career with the organization, a figure that includes direct salary, deferred compensation and other non-taxable retirement benefits. (Ruskay turned 65 in 2011.)
The UJA’s tax filings for 2010 and 2009 show Ruskay’s total annual compensation being a much more modest $582,000 and $551,000, respectively. Ruskay’s base salary in both years was $462,000. So what will Goldstein earn at the UJA? That remains unclear, but initially it will almost certainly be much less than he earned at Paul Weiss.
“UJA-Federation’s compensation committee worked with our independent consultant, [PricewaterhouseCoopers], which surveyed and analyzed data of CEOs with similar responsibilities in comparable not-for-profit organizations,” said a UJA spokeswoman. “Using that measure, PwC has provided its opinion that the compensation package is appropriate and reasonable in accordance with IRS standards.”
In other Churn news:
Texas appellate boutique Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend has hired Norton Rose Fulbright appellate litigation partner MARCY HOGAN GREER in Austin. Greer joined Fulbright & Jaworski in 1994, and she was a partner at the firm when it was absorbed last summer into London-based legal giant Norton Rose.
Fresh off bringing on 21 lawyers last week in California and New York, Blank Rome has bolstered its office in Washington, D.C., by hiring Reed Smith international trade partner MATTHEW THOMAS. A former general counsel for international affairs at the Federal Maritime Commission, Thomas is an expert in maritime and public contracts issues. He joined Reed Smith in 2009 from Troutman Sanders.
Bracewell & Giuliani added Andrews Kurth litigation partner R. CASEY LOW in Austin to its ranks on Monday. Low, who was elected to Andrews Kurth’s partnership in 2012, specializes in commercial litigation, antitrust and tortious interference claims at the appellate level.
JAMIESON KARSON, formerly the CEO of shoe company Steve Madden, has joined Dentons this week as a corporate senior counsel in New York. Karson is a childhood friend of the real Steve Madden, according to a 2001 New York magazine feature story on the latter’s legal troubles, the beginning of which can be seen in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Karson assumed control of Steve Madden Ltd. that same year after its founder resigned from the company. Karson heads to Dentons from McCarter & English, a firm he joined in 2009 as special counsel after eight years heading Madden’s footwear firm.
DLA Piper raided O’Melveny & Myers for corporate finance partner MARK FAIRBAIRN and of counsel ASHLEY BELL. Sibling publication The Asian Lawyer has more on the moves, which will see Fairbairn become head of DLA’s Asian restructuring team.
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott brought on a five-partner public finance practice from Blank Rome last week led by WILLIAM BENZING III, DACIA HADDAD, MARC STEIN, JOAN STERN and ROBERT TUTEUR in Philadelphia, according to sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer. Stern, considered one of the top bond lawyers in the country, will take all of Blank Rome’s public finance practice to Eckert Seamans once her group joins the firm in early February.
Greenberg Traurig added to its trusts and estates group this week by picking up Jenner & Block partners JOHN BUTTITA, DEBRA DOYLE and JOHN NEWLIN III in Chicago. Buttita, the chair of Jenner’s private client practice, will now chair the trusts and estates group at Greenberg. (The Am Law Daily has recently reported on trusts and estates lawyers being on the move as some Am Law 200 firms abandon the practice.) Also this week, Greenberg picked up Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel tax partner PHILIP WEINGOLD in New York, where he’ll work closely with the firm’s corporate team.
GREG HEATON, an investment management and financial services regulation partner at Hong Kong firm Deacons, has joined K&L Gates. Heaton, an Australian familiar with the country’s regulatory regimes, is the latest hire in Asia by K&L Gates, according to The Asian Lawyer.
Patton Boggs’ merger talks with Locke Lord may have fallen through, but the exodus of laterals from the firm has slowed in recent months, and on Tuesday the firm confirmed its hire of Vinson & Elkins bankruptcy partner DANIEL STEWART in Dallas. Stewart, who founded Vinson’s reorganization practice in 1999, joins Patton Boggs as of counsel.
Post & Schell has launched an environmental practice in Philadelphia by poaching Greenberg Traurig partners STEPHEN JONES and PAUL McINTYRE. The two lawyers, who predominantly represent private equity firms coping with environmental issues related to their real estate investments, will cochair Post & Schell’s newly formed national environmental practice.
RICHARD GALLAGHER, a securities litigation and regulatory enforcement partner with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in San Francisco, has left the firm to join Ropes & Gray. Gallagher joined Orrick a decade ago from Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance, where he fled following the implosion of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Gallagher worked closely with the now-defunct firm’s legendary chairman, Tower Snow Jr., according to a 2009 story by sibling publication The Recorder. The paper reported last week that while Gallagher is once again moving on, his wife, Orrick contract associate Natasha Hyman, will remain with the firm.