The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld counsel RANDY LEVINE, who is also team president of the New York Yankees, is heading to labor and employment firm Jackson Lewis as of counsel in its New York office.

Levine, who joined both Akin and the Yankees in 2000, has a long history as a labor attorney that includes serving as chief labor negotiator for Major League Baseball and negotiating the MLB’s landmark 1996 collective bargaining agreement. Levine also negotiated various public sector labor agreements as New York City’s commissioner of labor relations, and then as deputy mayor for economic development during Rudy Giuliani’s tenure as mayor. As Yankees president, Levine has advised the team on its sponsorship and stadium advertising pacts, as well as the development of the new Yankee Stadium that opened in 2009. Levine also took a lead role in the creation of Yankeees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network—an entity that has been valued at more than $3 billion in recent years.

Levine, who will stay on as the Yankees’ president, was adamant that his departure from Akin was not a result of any conflicts arising at the firm and that he did not look to join any firm other than Jackson Lewis.

In announcing Levine’s arrival, Jackson Lewis chairman Vincent Cino said in a statement that Levine has been an object of the firm’s affection for some time: “I have been pursuing Randy for years to join our firm because I felt he was such a natural match for us. He has a unique set of skills and experience that will be of great value to our clients as he offers his advice and insight. He brings impressive frontline experience negotiating and reaching agreements with large and powerful unions and other labor organizations. He has a deep understanding and appreciation of the complex workplace issues facing American business today.”

Levine tells The Am Law Daily that he has known Cino and others at Jackson Lewis for many years, but adds that he only started seriously considering joining the firm about a month ago. “It was just the right opportunity at the right time for me to go [to Jackson Lewis] . . . I think they’re the best management labor lawyers around and I just felt like my labor practice—which is still substantial, although most of my time is spent as president of the Yankees—would fit very nicely there,” Levine says.

Levine says he was attracted to the breadth of Jackson Lewis’ labor and employment coverage and adds that he looks forward to working with the firm’s collegiate and professional sports practice, which launched in 2010 with the addition of former MLB agent Gregg Clifton. (Clifton now cochairs that practice along with Paul Kelly, the former National Hockey League Players’ Association executive director who joined the firm two years ago.)

“In addition to [being] president of the Yankees, I’ve had a long career in all sports,” Levine says. “So, as a result, sometimes people call me for advice on things unrelated to the Yankees that I’m able to do and I think Jackson Lewis—the people they have in their sports department—I’m going to be there to support them.”

Levine has been in the news of late due to a published e-mail exchange between himself and recently suspended Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez that highlights the growing tension between the troubled slugger and both Levine and the team. Regardless, the attorney maintains that he has no issues keeping his duties with the team separate from his legal work: “I’ve been doing it this way for 14 years—nothing will change. Obviously, most of my time is spent with the Yankees and everything to do with the Yankees, but I work a lot of hours and I always make time for practicing law too, because I enjoy it.”

Akin placed 32nd in The American Lawyer’s most recent Am Law 100 ranking with gross revenues of $775 million, while Jackson Lewis placed 82nd with $352 million in 2012 gross revenue.

In other Churn news . . .

SAMANTHA GALLAGHER is now a partner in Arnold & Porter’s corporate and securities group, as well as the firm’s real estate practice. Based in Washington, D.C., she arrives from Bass, Berry & Sims, where she advised on a range of corporate matters with a particular focus on the real estate investment trust (REIT) industry.

Baker Botts has hired white collar criminal attorney ANDREW LANKLER to be a partner in the firm’s New York office. Lankler, who is a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, previously practiced at the firm he helped found in 2002: Lankler, Carragher & Horwitz. Lankler’s clients have included television host Greg Kelly and Bernie Madoff auditor David Friehling.

Baker & Hostetler’s Houston office is growing with the addition of partner BRYCE LINSENMAYER to the firm’s business group. Previously with McGuireWoods, Linsenmayer advises issuers and investment bankers in public offerings and private placements of debt and equities.

TODD OVERMAN has left Hogan Lovells to establish a government contracts practice at Bass, Berry & Sims. Based in Washington, D.C., Overman joins the firm as a member and will lead a practice advising government contractors on a variety of matters including M&A matters, federal and state level bid protests, investigations, audits, IP matters, security clearances and compliance issues.

Former Dentons cross-border M&A partner JOHANNES JONAS has left that firm to open a Paris office for New York-based firm Cohen & Gresser. Jonas will lead the new office while focusing his practice on cross-border transactions and other corporate matters involving European and North American clients. Cohen & Gresser opened its only other office, in Seoul, last year.

Covington & Burling is welcoming FRANK “RUSTY” CONNER III and MICHAEL REED as partners in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, where they will work on financial M&A matters. Formerly with DLA Piper, the two attorneys will represent financial institutions in a variety of transactions and other corporate matters.

Meanwhile, Dentons made an addition of its own, as the firm welcomed insurance litigator PATRICK GENNARDO as a partner in its New York office. Gennardo, who advises insurance companies and other financial services clients on litigation matters, most recently practiced at Edwards Wildman Palmer, where he chaired that firm’s complex commercial litigation practice group for the insurance and reinsurance industries.

Dickinson Wright has made two lateral hires, adding IP attorneys to its Phoenix and Toronto offices. MATTHEW MARQUARDT, who joins the firm as a partner north of the border after leaving his previous post at Norton Rose Fulbright, advises companies in the financial, telecommunications, data processing and transportation industries on all aspects of intellectual property law. Meanwhile, FRANK LONG arrives in the firm’s Phoenix office from Greenberg Traurig, where he worked on trademark, trade dress, false advertising, copyright and trade secret matters. Long joins the firm as a member.

The Los Angeles and New York offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher have each added an attorney, with the latter hiring former UBS in-house attorney MARK SHELTON as a partner. Shelton, who served as the bank’s Americas general counsel and global head of investigations, will practice financial institutions law at Gibson Dunn with a focus on banking regulation and investigations. Meanwhile, ERIC VANDEVELDE is now of counsel in the firm’s Los Angeles office after most recently serving as deputy chief of the cyber and intellectual property crimes section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Vandevelde will practice in Gibson Dunn’s information technology and data privacy practice group as well as the white collar defense and investigations group.

Greenberg Traurig has hired shareholder JON ZIMRING to bolster the firm’s labor and employment practice in Chicago. Zimring—who arrives from Duane Morris, along with a practice group attorney—counsels employers in such issues as union relations, affirmative action compliance, wage and hour matters, and harassment and retaliation matters.

Government contracts partner ROBERT TOMPKINS has left Patton Boggs for the Washington, D.C. office of Holland & Knight. Tompkins, who previously chaired the government contracts practice at Patton Boggs, counsels clients in matters related to holding or obtaining government contracts, including bid protests.

RANDEL YOUNG is now a partner in the energy, infrastructure and resources practice of K&L Gates, having departed his previous post at Jackson Walker. Based in Houston, Young specializes in oil and gas transactions such as project development deals, cross-border M&A and financing. The firm has also expanded its Paris office with the addition of corporate partner JEAN-PATRICE LABAUTIERE from Allen & Overy. He advises clients in the health care, financial services and technology sectors on transactions and other corporate matters.

King & Spalding has added two partners: ULF GRUNDMANN in Frankfurt, and ROBERT HUR in Washington, D.C. Previously with Bird & Bird, Grundmann focuses on European Union regulatory law with an emphasis on the pharmaceutical, medical device and food industries. He will be a partner in the firm’s FDA and life sciences practice. Hur, who was a King & Spalding associate from 2005 to 2007, rejoins the firm after serving as assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. He will help bolster the firm’s special matters and government investigations practice weeks after it added white-collar defense lawyers Dixie Johnson and William Johnson from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, according to our prior reporting.

White collar attorney KEVIN ROBINSON has left Irwin Mitchell to join the London office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius as a partner. Robinson, who served as head of Irwin Mitchell’s regulatory and criminal investigations practice, advises clients with respect to regulatory investigations into commercial activity and also defends those clients in prosecutions that should arise from investigations.

KEVIN HARNISCH is now a partner in the securities litigation and enforcement practice of Steptoe & Johnson. Based in Washington, D.C., Harnisch provides clients with anti-corruption counseling and enforcement advice, while also advising on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters and internal investigations. He previously practiced at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

Two partners have landed at Troutman Sanders: BRENT FEWELL in Washington, D.C., and JAMES WASHBURN in Atlanta. Fewell joins the firm’s environmental and natural resources practice, having most recently served as senior vice president for environmental health and safety at United Water. Washburn, who will be a part of Troutman’s business litigation practice, arrives from McKenna Long & Aldridge. He represents insurance providers, financial institutions and closely-held businesses in a range of commercial litigation matters.

ADAM SAFWAT, the former deputy chief in the fraud section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s criminal division, has joined the Washington, D.C. office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges as counsel. Safwat will practice in Weil’s white collar defense and investigations practice.

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