The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

Correction, 5/27/14, 11 a.m. EDT: The original version of this story included incorrect information about which office Anke Sessler will be based in when she joins Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager & Flom as an international arbitration and litigation partner in September. Sessler will be based in Frankfurt. The 32nd paragraph of this article has been revised to include the correct information. We regret the error.

Squire Sanders—whose pursuit of a possible tie-up with Patton Boggs may have gained steam this week with the announcement that the latter is exiting a high-profile toxic tort case by reaching a $15 million settlement with energy giant Chevron—has already been active on the lateral hiring front this year.

At the same time, the 1,227-lawyer Swiss verein also recently saw three practice group leaders leave for new ventures. Among the departed are THOMAS SALERNO, the former cochair of Squire Sanders’ international financial restructuring practice, who joined Gordon & Silver this month as the managing partner of the regional firm’s four-year-old Phoenix office.

Salerno, who advised the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes in connection with the team’s 2009 bankruptcy, tells The Am Law Daily that it was firm founder and restructuring industry veteran Gerald Gordon who recruited him to Gordon & Silver, which also opened an office in Los Angeles this month with the addition of partners ERIC GOLDBERG and EVE KARASIK from dissolving bankruptcy boutique Stutman, Treister & Glatt.

A key factor in his decision to make the move—which Salerno says he hashed out with Gordon and other firm partners over cigars and whiskey during a trip to Las Vegas—was the chance to shed the client conflicts that often arise at global legal giants like Squire Sanders.

“Being at a large firm certainly has its benefits, but there are also disadvantages,” Salerno says. “[Gordon & Silver] has no institutional lending arm, which is huge when it comes to clearing potential conflicts.”

While Salerno acknowledges that jumping from Squire Sanders to the roughly 50-lawyer Gordon & Silver will require some adjustments, he can take comfort in not having to moving too far. Both firms have space in the same Phoenix skyscraper.

Asked about the potential impact of Squire Sanders joining forces with Patton Boggs, Salerno says he knows little about the talks between the two firms, but notes that the former has found success in previous tie-ups with Graham & James, Steel Hector & Davis and Hammonds. “Consolidation in the legal industry is just a fact of life these days,” says Salerno, who adds that he expects bankruptcy work to remain slow in 2014 as the U.S. economy continues to improve and lenders free up frozen capital.

Salerno isn’t the only Phoenix-based attorney to leave Squire Sanders of late. JOSEPH CRABB, a corporate and securities partner who joined the firm in 2008 from Quarles & Brady and also worked out of Squire Sanders’ New York office, is now the chief legal officer at Nuverra Environmental Solutions, a Scottsdale, Ariz.–based environmental services company formerly known as Heckmann Corp. Crabb did not respond to a request for comment about his move.

In Miami, meanwhile, JAMES THOMAS, the former leader of Squire Sanders’ global litigation practice, has also left the firm, though it is unclear where he has landed. He did not respond to a call seeking comment.

Squire Sanders is also seeing some departures in London. GARFIELD SMITH, who served as global head of the firm’s outsourcing and procurement practice after coming aboard from Pinsent Masons in 2011, has left to join a technology startup, according to a source familiar with the move. Joining Smith on the way out the door is real estate partner CHRISTOPHER BRIGSTOCKE, who has moved to Winckworth Sherwood. The London office also recently lost international dispute resolution partner SIMON PRICE to retirement, according to an individual briefed on the matter.

Patton Boggs, which sibling publication The National Law Journal reports has granted Squire Sanders exclusivity in merger discussions, has also watched a trio of partners leave in recent days.

EDWARD GEHRES III, a litigation partner in Washington, D.C., has joined Van Ness Feldman in the nation’s capital. Infrastructure partner JAY TANNON has left to become managing partner of American Infrastructure Holdings, a business he owns in Northern Virginia that has previously tapped Patton Boggs for legal work. And JOHN ZEFUTIE JR.—promoted to partner in Patton Boggs’ litigation group just last year—has joined Thompson Hine as counsel in New York. At his new firm, Zefutie will work closely with former Patton Boggs partner Ugo Colella, who joined Thompson Hine last summer.

In other Churn news …

SANDRA RIZZO, the former head of the energy regulatory group at Bracewell & Giuliani, has joined Arnold & Porter as a partner in Washington, D.C. Rizzo represents energy industry clients in enforcement and administrative proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Four years after joining Ballard Spahr from King & Spalding, IP partner KATRINA QUICKER is on the move with two associates to Baker & Hostetler. Quicker, who represents clients in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, joined King & Spalding in a six-lawyer move from Kilpatrick Stockton in 2006.

Ballard Spahr has hired special litigation counsel ALAN RUBINSON in Philadelphia from pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, where he spent 20 years in the in-house legal department, serving most recently as vice president of U.S. legal operations for dispute resolution and prevention.

Bass, Berry & Sims has hired IP counsel JASON ROCKMAN in Washington, D.C., from Dickstein Shapiro, where he was an associate. Rockman was previously an associate with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York.

Blank Rome has brought on white-collar litigation partner CARLOS ORTIZ, who will divide his time between New York and Princeton from Edwards Wildman Palmer. Ortiz joined Edwards Wildman last year from LeClairRyan, where he headed the investigations and compliance group. LeClairRyan recruited Ortiz in 2010 from DLA Piper, where he served as vice chair of the compliance practice.

DAVID HEFFERNAN, aviation practice chair with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in Washington, D.C., is joining Cozen O’Connor’s office there, as is RYAN BLANEY, a former senior associate in Proskauer Rose’s health care group who joins Cozen as a partner.

Dechert has raided McDermott Will & Emery for IP litigation partner S. MICHAEL SONG in Silicon Valley. Song joined McDermott in 2012 from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a firm he rejoined as of counsel a decade earlier after a two-year hiatus spent launching his own computer chip company, according to sibling publication The Recorder.

Dinsmore & Shohl has brought back former associate ROBERT LUCAS after a 10-year stint at Thompson Coburn in Chicago, where he was a corporate partner. Lucas brings with him corporate partner MICHAEL JURASEK and litigation partner TIMOTHY BINETTI, who was elevated to the Thompson Coburn partnership last year. Dinsmore added its Chicago outpost earlier this year via a merger with 35-lawyer Peck Shaffer & Williams.

TIM WRIGHT, a private equity partner in London with King & Wood Mallesons, has jumped to DLA. Meanwhile, DLA’s Kiwi affiliate, DLA Phillips Fox, has brought on partner SUE BROWN in Wellington, where she was previously head of the strategy, innovation and engagement for New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority. On the other side of the ledger, DLA lost Melbourne managing partner PETER MONK, who has joined local startup Hive Legal as a principal, according to The Australian. Hive Legal, a virtual law firm, was launched earlier this year by alums of DLA and leading Aussie firm Minter Ellison.

Dorsey & Whitney’s turnaround effort got another boost with the firm’s second lateral hire in a week: London-based tax partner MICHAEL CASHMAN, who moves over from local shop Kemp Little. (Kemp Little cofounder and senior partner Richard Kemp recently quit the firm to launch his own boutique information technology boutique, according to U.K. publication The Lawyer.)

Foley Hoag has hired Ropes & Gray counsel CHRISTOPHER NATKANSKI as a business licensing and technology practice partner in Boston. Natkanski advises clients in a range of industries.

MARC ANGELONE, an adjunct professor at the Boston University School of Law and real estate counsel at Bingham McCutchen, has left Bingham to join northeast regional firm Hinckley, Allen & Snyder in Boston.

Husch Blackwell has expanded its international trade group by hiring partner JEFFREY NEELEY and senior counsel CORTNEY O’TOOLE MORGAN and MICHAEL HOLTON from international trade boutique Barnes, Richardson & Colburn in Washington, D.C. Morgan was a partner and Holton an associate at their previous firm.

K&L Gates has hired corporate partner NICOLA DI GIOVANNI in Paris from Baker & McKenzie, which he joined in 2011 from Linklaters. K&L Gates has also added investment management partner TILL FOCK in Berlin from King & Wood Mallesons in the wake of the Asia-Pacific legal giant’s decision in March to close its office in the German capital. Fock was previously a partner with SJ Berwin, which merged with King & Wood Mallesons last year.

KATIE JACOBSEN, a real estate partner with McKenna Long & Aldridge in San Diego, has left the firm to join Liner LLP. At Liner—a firm that once went by a much longer name—Jacobsen will be reunited with several former colleagues from Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, which McKenna acquired in 2012.

Rapidly expanding Atlanta-based Am Law 200 firm Morris, Manning & Martin has added a new FHA practice chair, JAMES PECK, a commercial and real estate finance expert who joins the firm’s office in Washington, D.C., from Krooth & Altman.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough has beefed up its international trade group by bringing on of counsel PHILIP GALLAS in Washington, D.C. Gallas left accounting giant KPMG last September after spending nearly two years as a senior trade compliance and tax manager. Gallas was previously a partner at Husch Blackwell, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease.

Pierce Atwood, a Maine-based firm that expanded into southern New England late last year through a merger, has picked up K&L Gates real estate partner RICHARD NOVAK in Boston. Novak joined K&L Gates in 2008 from Day Pitney.

Milwaukee-based Quarles & Brady opened an office in Indianapolis this month with the addition of Frost Brown Todd litigation partners LUCY DOLLENS, JOSHUA FLEMING, DANIEL LONG and JOEL TRAGESSER, along with health care partner KRISTEN GENTRY from local shop Krieg DeVault. D. Linden Barber, the director of Quarles & Brady’s DEA compliance practice after joining the firm in 2011, will relocate to Indianapolis to serve as managing partner of the new outpost.

ANKE SESSLER, a former chief litigation counsel with German conglomerate Siemens, will become an international arbitration and litigation partner in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Frankfurt office. Sessler will join the firm in September, according to German legal publication Juve.

Venable has poached Gibbons IP litigation partner RALPH DENGLER in New York. Dengler is also a retired Marine Corps Reserve officer who as an associate at IP firm Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto took a leave of absence a decade ago to serve in Iraq. Following the deployment, Dengler publicly criticized a probe into the conduct of Marines in his unit by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

JOHN EADS III has left midwestern firm Kopka Pinkus Dolin & Eads, where he was managing partner, to join Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker’s new suburban Detroit office. Eads will be a civil litigation partner at his new firm, specializing in malpractice and liability cases.

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