The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

CORRECTION: 4/23/14, 6:38 a.m. EDT. A previous version of this column misstated Amy Jeffress’ work history. We regret the error.

As Patton Boggs mulls a future that could see the slimmed-down firm combine with Squire Sanders or Dentons, three more of its partners have moved on.

One of the three, NIGEL WILKINSON, gained income partner status in Patton Boggs’ litigation group just last year. Wilkinson’s name vanished from the firm’s website earlier this month, only to reappear on Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s site on Friday. By joining Pillsbury as counsel, Wilkinson reunites with recently poached former Washington, D.C.–based Patton Boggs commercial litigation and antitrust head Benjamin Chew, who joined Pillsbury last month.

Meanwhile, litigation partners SCOTT WEBER in New York and SHANNON CONWAY in Dallas left Patton Boggs within the past week. Texas state bar records show that Conway has joined Talcott Franklin, a litigation boutique founded by a former Patton Boggs partner of the same name. Conway did not respond to a request for comment about her decision to switch firms.

Weber, who has served as a senior adviser with global security and risk management firm The Chertoff Group since 2006, also did not respond to a request for comment about his departure from Patton Boggs. Weber’s LinkedIn profile shows that he also serves as a director at Opera Solutions, a privately held analytics and data company, and his Twitter account reveals an affiliation with digital forensics, e-discovery and business intelligence shop Stroz Friedberg.

A press release issued last month by Bespoke Partners, an executive search firm, states that it recently placed Weber as managing director of Stroz Friedberg, a portfolio company of New York–based private equity firms Greenhill Capital Partners and New Mountain Capital. (Harvard Law School graduate Steven Klinsky founded New Mountain in 2000.)

Patton Boggs—which recently hired high-profile criminal defense lawyer Elkan Abramowitz of New York’s Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello and litigation boutique Leader & Berkon to defend against fraud allegations brought by Chevron in connection with a long-running toxic tort case that originated in Ecuador—has landed several key assignments of late.

Known for its lobbying prowess, the firm recently inked a $50,000-per-month retainer agreement with the African nation of Gabon. Patton Boggs was also hired this month by the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan as part of its push to have certain parties removed from a terrorism watch list. Leading the Patton Boggs team on the latter matter is David Tafuri, with whom we spoke last year about his time in Iraq.

In other Churn news …

ALICE YURKE, a structured finance and securities practice partner who joined Jones Day’s New York office three years ago from British firm Ashurst, is on the move again. Yurke recently left Jones Day for Alston & Bird, where she will be a partner in the firm’s expanding derivatives and structured products practice.

Arnold & Porter has hired AMY JEFFRESS, a high-ranking former Justice Department official and daughter of Baker Botts partner William Jeffress Jr., as a partner in its white-collar defense and national security litigation practice in Washington, D.C. Last month Jeffress’ husband Christopher Cooper from Covington & Burling was confirmed to the federal bench, according to sibling publication The National Law Journal.

L. RACHEL LERMAN has traded her position as an appellate litigation partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Los Angeles to fill the same role at Barnes & Thornburg. Lerman won’t be a stranger at her new firm, which opened in Los Angeles three years ago by raiding Akin Gump for roughly a dozen lawyers, according to our previous reports.

Sibling publication the Daily Business Review reports that Carlton Fields Jorden Burt—a 370-lawyer firm formed in January following the merger of two Florida-based shops—has opened an office in Los Angeles by adding Steptoe & Johnson executive committee member and national commercial litigation head MARK NEUBAUER and litigation partner MEREDITH MOSS. The Am Law Daily spoke with Neubauer in 2011 about his love for the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers.

ROBERT CONNOLLY, a former federal antitrust prosecutor who joined DLA Piper’s Philadelphia office as of counsel last year, has left the firm to become head of the corporate investigations practice at Washington, D.C.’s GeyerGorey, a boutique formed in late 2012 by two longtime antitrust prosecutors.

Fox Rothschild is the latest Am Law 100 firm to pick up refugees from the dissolution of Florida’s Tew Cardenas in the wake of name partner Thomas Tew’s death in January. The South Florida Business Journal reported last year that Tew Cardenas was at one point in merger talks with Fox Rothschild, which has now brought on litigation partner JOSEPH DeMARIA in Miami. The DBR, which has written extensively about Tom Tew’s legacy, noted last month that Miami’s Rennert Vogel Mandler & Rodriguez had hired his brother Jeffrey Tew and nephew Spencer Tew.

King & Spalding, which recently made a key lateral hire to launch a European restructuring practice, has now poached British firm Berwin Leighton Paisner’s banking and finance litigation head, London-based DAVID HUGHES, according to U.K. publication Legal Week. Hughes previously filled the same role at DLA Piper from 1992 to 2005, when he decamped for BLP.

Former White House special counsel JONATHAN SU, who was an associate at Latham & Watkins from 2004 to 2006, has returned to the firm as a white-collar litigation partner in Washington, D.C., following a two-year stint with the Obama administration, according to the NLJ.

Greenberg Traurig has hired Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker national data security and cyberliability practice chair LORI NUGENT as a partner in its privacy, data security and IP and technology practices in Chicago.

McKenna Long & Aldridge just got a little more beautiful. BEN DUNHAM, a former chief counsel to late U.S. senator Frank Lautenberg, was once ranked by The Hill as one of the 50 most beautiful people in Washington, D.C. Dunham, whose bonafides got a boost from his since-scuttled romance with “Mad Men” star January Jones, is joining McKenna as a counsel in the public policy and regulatory affairs practice, where he will specialize in environmental and energy issues.

Morrison & Foerster has snagged Shearman & Sterling counsel SHIRIN TANG as an M&A and private equity partner in Singapore, according to sibling publication The Asian Lawyer. MoFo opened its Singapore office last year.

Litigator JULIE HUSSEY has left DLA’s San Diego office for Perkins Coie, where she will serve as chair of the life sciences subgroup within the firm’s product liability practice. Hussey is the fourth partner hired by Perkins Coie in San Diego this year.

Legal Week reports that NICK BROCKLESBY, a litigation partner in London with Asia-Pacific legal giant King & Wood Mallesons, is leaving that firm for Reed Smith. Brocklesby joined King & Wood predecessor SJ Berwin—the two merged last year—from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2005. Brocklesby is the latest London hire for Reed Smith, which is looking to bulk up its financial services disputes practice in Europe’s financial capital.

Thompson Hine has hired antitrust partner DANIEL FERREL McINNIS from Akin Gump in Washington, D.C., where he represented such publishing giants as Penguin Group in e-book price-fixing cases.

Wiley Rein is the latest large firm to welcome the rise of robot technology. The firm has hired GARY MICHEL, who retired from the Federal Aviation Administration last September, as an aviation regulatory and drone practice consulting counsel in Washington, D.C. While the age of the robot lawyer is not quite here, automated technology is increasingly changing the way the legal industry and other businesses operate, which has opened up an array of regulatory issues.

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