The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

In this week’s installment of the ongoing Squire Patton Boggs saga, the newly combined Am Law 100 firm made its first lateral hire by bringing on a partner with close ties to the Chinese government.

LI HUA, a trade disputes and antitrust expert with French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel, has joined Squire Patton Boggs’ Beijing office, according to sibling publication The Asian Lawyer. Hua, a partner at Gide, joins the roughly 1,500-lawyer firm whose tie-up took effect on June 1.

Meanwhile, former Patton Boggs partners are still peeling off for other Am Law 100 firms. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld continues to hire from its Beltway rival by picking up counsel CAITLIN McCORMICK, who was an associate at Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C. McCormick, who spoke with sibling publication Legal Times in 2008 about her pro bono election work, will be reunited at Akin Gump with a larger public policy team that joined the firm last week from Patton Boggs.

Edwards Wildman Palmer, which earlier in the week hired James Tyrrell Jr.—who brought to Patton Boggs its ill-fated case against Chevron and at one time was the firm’s highest-paid partner as chair of its toxic tort and product liability practice—has recruited the rest of his team for its offices in New York and Morristown, N.J.

Joining Tyrrell as Edwards Wildman partners are ELISSA GLASBAND, JOSEPH HOPKINS, JASON ROCKWELL, LISA ANN RUGGIERO and ERIC WESTENBERGER, according to sibling publication New York Law Journal. JENNIFER SCHIEFELBEIN, an associate in Patton Boggs’ Newark office, is also coming aboard as counsel. (Hopkins and Ruggiero were of counsel at Patton Boggs.)

On the opposite coast, Polsinelli has doubled the size of its California presence by plucking a 21-lawyer toxic tort group from McKenna Long & Aldridge, according to sibling publication The National Law Journal. The McKenna Long partners joining Polsinelli include MATTHEW ASHBY, SUSAN GILEFSKY, RYAN LANDIS, STEPHEN NICHOLS, FARAH NICOL, BARBARA SAFECHUCK and DAVID SCHULTZ.

McKenna Long, like its public policy and government services rival Patton Boggs, drew the interest of global legal giant Dentons last year. But tie-up talks between Dentons and McKenna Long broke off around Thanksgiving after a group of partners at the latter firm made their opposition to the potential deal clear, according to our previous reports.

In other Churn news …

Ballard Spahr has brought back business, finance and government relations partner ADRIAN KING JR. in Philadelphia. King, who left the firm’s office in the City of Brotherly Love last year to become Pennsylvania’s first deputy attorney general, told sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer that the timing of his departure had nothing to do with criticism leveled against the attorney general’s office for not prosecuting five Democratic state representatives allegedly caught taking bribes in a law enforcement sting operation.

Barnes & Thornburg, which recently announced a leadership change, has hired international trade partner DAVID SPOONER in Washington, D.C. Spooner was previously an assistant secretary of Commerce for import administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Chadbourne & Parke has hired project finance partner DESPINA DOXAKI in London from the Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm, one of Greece’s largest firms. KG Law announced last month that it and Doxaki, who specializes in banking, corporate finance and restructuring transactions, had agreed to part ways.

AMANDA GREENWOLD WISE, a financial institutions and insurance industry counsel with Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, has been hired by the American Insurance Association as vice president and chief counsel for federal affairs in Washington, D.C. Wise joined Debevoise in 2012 after serving as senior counsel with the Treasury Department.

Dentons made a series of hires this week, adding patent litigation partner RUSSELL TONKOVICH in San Francisco and Silicon Valley from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, where he had been counsel. Dentons also brought on Louisiana state senator KAREN CARTER PETERSON as an energy counsel in New Orleans, where the firm opened an office in 2012. (Peterson serves as chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party.) Also joining Dentons is former K&L Gates corporate partner SUSAN GREENSPON in Chicago. K&L Gates, whose Windy City operations have experienced some turmoil in recent years, hired Greenspon in 2009 when it raided Kelley Drye & Warren for one-quarter of that firm’s Chicago office.

Dickinson Wright has hired IP of counsel JENNY SLOCUM in Washington, D.C., from Edwards Wildman. Slocum was an associate at Edwards Wildman for the past year after joining the firm in early 2013 from New York boutique Collen IP.

Foley & Lardner has hired attorney BLANE PRESCOTT to succeed the retiring Darrell Ohlhauser as the firm’s chief operating officer. Prescott, a former Hildebrandt Baker Robbins consultant, most recently served as CEO of Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He spoke with The Am Law Daily in 2010 about his decision to try his hand at law firm management.

ROBERT KLYMAN, a veteran bankruptcy partner with Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles, has left the firm for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The latter firm says Klyman will continue to be based in Los Angeles, but will also spend a substantial amount of time in its New York office.

Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Greenberg Gross has brought on O’Melveny & Myers counsel KEVIN MOKHTARI as a litigation counsel. Prior to attending law school, Mokhtari cofounded an Internet service provider that he later sold.

It could have taken 18 months, but EDUARDO USTARAN, the former head of the data privacy, protection and information practice at British firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, has officially joined Hogan Lovells in London, according to U.K. publication Legal Week. Ustaran gave notice to Field Fisher last year, but was told he could not leave the firm until May 2015. In the end, Ustaran is moving to Hogan Lovells a year ahead of schedule.

Holland & Knight has hired labor and employment litigation partner KARA ARIAIL in Tysons Corner, Va., from Jackson Lewis in Washington, D.C. Ariail represents management-side clients in employment matters.

THOMAS RYAN, who left his job as an associate at K&L Gates six years ago to become a federal prosecutor in West Virginia, has rejoined his former firm as a government enforcement partner in Pittsburgh.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has added partner ROBERT EDWARDS JR. in Washington, D.C., to serve as cohead of its energy, project finance and technology team. Edwards, a former Mayer Brown and Hunton & Williams partner who spent two years as deputy general counsel for energy policy at the U.S. Department of Energy, joins the firm from JPMorgan Chase, where he was an executive director in the banking giant’s global commodities group. Also joining Kilpatrick in Raleigh is former Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough litigation partner JOSEPH DOWDY.

Paul Hastings has plucked Los Angeles entertainment and technology M&A partner DAVID HERNAND from Cooley, according to sibling publication The Recorder. Cooley opened an office in Los Angeles in 2012 by hiring Hernand from Gibson Dunn, where he cochaired the firm’s media, entertainment and technology practice.

After a two-year stint as general counsel and director of legal affairs for health care consulting firm Beck Advisory Group, ERIC BJORKMAN is rejoining Perkins Coie’s Boise office as an emerging companies and venture capital partner. Beck Advisory Group was sold last year to national accounting and consulting firm CliftonLarsenAllen.

ANDREW HOWARD, a senior associate with Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy in London, has joined Ropes & Gray as a tax and benefits counsel in the same city.

Seyfarth Shaw has snagged corporate partner MICHAEL CLARK in Los Angeles from Norton Rose Fulbright, where he advised on the refinancing last year of a new court project in nearby Long Beach.

STEVEN EICHEL, a tax partner with Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston, has left that firm to join Sullivan & Worcester. Eichel, who joined Choate Hall from Goulston & Storrs in 2007, specializes in various tax matters.

Thompson Coburn has added health care partner CHRISTINA RANDOLPH in St. Louis from local firm Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, where she was an officer.

Venable has hired product liability litigation partner JESSICA GRANT in San Francisco from Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass. Grant joined the San Francisco-based firm last year from local plaintiffs boutique Sher Leff, where she led a three-month trial against ExxonMobil that resulted in a $236 million jury verdict, according to The Recorder.

WALTER STUART, a partner who left his role as head of Vinson & Elkins’ New York office four years ago to join Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, has returned to Vinson as a Houston-based litigation partner. Vinson has also added tax counsel DANIEL BRAUWEILER in the Space City from Entergy Services, where he was special trial counsel for tax controversies.

The Recorder reports that Wilmer has poached Silicon Valley-based IP litigation partner SONG ZHU from Hogan Lovells. Before launching his legal career, Zhu was a senior engineer with General Motors.

Wolff & Samson, which has recently come under fire for its New Jersey political ties, has brought on IP and technology partner BEVERLY LUBIT from Greenberg Traurig’s Florham Park office. Lubit, who will work out of Wolff & Samson’s headquarters in West Orange, was noted in 2009 as one of the Garden State’s legal “Profit Makers” by sibling publication New Jersey Law Journal.

The Churn is compiled from law firm releases, announcements and news reports. Please send all announcements and news releases to