The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

Mayer Brown has hired COLLEEN TRACY, who until recently had been the managing partner of New York-based Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto, where she took the IP firm’s leadership reins in 2009.

The move by Tracy, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment about her decision to join Mayer Brown, apparently came somewhat abruptly. In an internal Fitzpatrick Cella email sent over the weekend and obtained by legal blog Above the Law, Nicholas Cannella, a senior member of the firm’s management committee, notified employees that Tracy had resigned but that the firm had “been in communication with the one client for whom she was working” and thus “did not anticipate any changes as a result of her departure.”

Cannella, a former managing partner of Fitzpatrick Cella who is based in New York, did not respond to a request for further comment on Tracy’s departure or a subsequent report by Above the Law that his firm had held merger talks with rivals in recent months. Nor did Fitzpatrick Cella partners Brian Klock or Michael O’Neill, who head the firm’s two other offices in Washington, D.C., and Costa Mesa, Calif., respectively.

The Am Law Daily reported earlier this year on Fitzpatrick Cella’s decision to trim an unspecified number of associate jobs through a reorganization. The 166-lawyer firm saw gross revenue slip 1.7 percent in 2013, to $117.5 million, while profits per partner dropped another 4 percent, to $840,000, according to The American Lawyer’s most recent Am Law 200 financial data.

In April, O’Melveny & Myers raided Fitzpatrick Cella for a trio of patent litigation partners in New York led by Lisa Pensabene and husband Marc Pensabene, as well as Filko Prugo. Lisa Pensabene became head of O’Melveny’s life sciences litigation practice. A year ago this month, former Fitzpatrick Cella partner Leisa Lundy left the firm’s New York office for Holland & Knight.

A spokeswoman for Mayer Brown, a firm that is no stranger to leadership drama, did not respond to a request for comment about Fitzpatrick Cella’s reaction to Tracy’s departure.

In other Churn news …

Blank Rome is poised to bring on former Cincinnati solicitor JOHN CURP as a partner in the Queen City, according to WXVU-Cincinnati. Curp, a former partner at leading Ohio firm Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, stepped aside as city solicitor earlier this year. Blank Rome has had an office in Cincinnati since 2000.

Cozen O’Connor has clinched two new hires for its Los Angeles office by hiring commercial litigation partners AMY ALDERFER and MARIA “RIA” COUSINEAU from Greenberg Traurig and Sedgwick, respectively. Cousineau was a partner at her former firm, while Alderfer was of counsel at Greenberg Traurig.

Dechert has poached British firm Olswang’s real estate finance head ELENI SKORDAKI for its real estate and finance practice in London, according to U.K. publication Legal Week. Also joining Dechert in Luxembourg is financial services and investment management partner JOHAN TERBLANCHE, who comes aboard from leading Benelux firm Loyens & Loeff. Dechert opened its outpost in Luxembourg back in 2001.

KEVIN FINGER and JEFFREY TOROSIAN, cochairs of the litigation practice in Greenberg Traurig’s Chicago office, have left the firm for DLA Piper’s Windy City base. The duo specialize in civil and bankruptcy litigation, corporate compliance and white-collar defense matters.

More than a month after Above the Law first broke the news of his move to Kirkland & Ellis, the firm has officially confirmed its hire of Baker Botts energy transactional partner ANTHONY SPEIER III in Houston. Speier, who was promoted to partner at Baker Botts earlier this year, joins Kirkland with Vinson & Elkins energy finance partner WILLIAM BOS. Kirkland opened in Houston earlier this year after luring Simpson Thacher & Bartlett dealmaker Andrew Calder with a guaranteed $5 million-per-year pay package, according to our previous reports.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has added antitrust partner FIONA SCHAEFFER in New York from Jones Day, a firm which she joined four years ago from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Schaeffer began her legal career in the U.K. and has nearly 20 years of regulatory expertise on both sides of the Atlantic.

KEITH GOTTFRIED, a former general counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development who went on to become an M&A partner at Blank Rome, has joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ business and finance practice in the nation’s capital. Gottfried heads to Morgan Lewis from Alston & Bird, which he joined from Blank Rome in 2012.

Morrison & Foerster has brought back corporate partner WILLIAM CHOE in Palo Alto, according to sibling publication The Recorder. Choe, an M&A expert, first joined MoFo in 2010 before going on to take an in-house job as vice president of legal for Virginia-based telecommunications company Neustar. He was also previously a partner at Dentons predecessor Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

New York-based Morrison Cohen has become the latest firm to hire from Bingham McCutchen by picking up of counsel DANIEL MCGILLYCUDDY as a partner to head its white-collar defense and investigations practice. McGillycuddy joined Bingham in 2006 after serving as a senior investigative counsel in the office of longtime Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

NIGEL DICKINSON, a former senior associate at Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy who joined CMS Cameron McKenna as a financial services partner in London two years ago, has left the latter for Norton Rose Fulbright. U.K. publication Legal Business reports that Dickinson will be a member of Norton Rose’s capital markets team, but has yet to settle on an official start date at his new firm.

Elsewhere in London, Proskauer Rose finance partner MICHAEL CROSBY is on the move, heading to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to head the firm’s English banking and finance group, according to U.K. publication The Lawyer, which notes that Crosby will join Orrick after serving a period of gardening leave.

Perkins Coie has plucked K&L Gates exempt organizations and health care partner RICHARD SEVCIK for its tax, benefits and compensation practice in Chicago. Sevcik, who was a member of the pro bono committee at K&L Gates, is the sixth partner hire by Perkins Coie in the Windy City within the past year.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has added of counsel RICHARD TORCZON in Washington, D.C., from the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board, where he has been an administrative patent judge since 1996. Torczon will work in the Silicon Valley stalwart’s patent litigation practice.

Washington, D.C.’s ZwillGen PLLC has hired Ballard Spahr of counsel AMY MUSHAHWAR for its data security and e-commerce practice, where she will be counsel and chief information officer for the Beltway boutique. Formerly known as Zwillinger Genetski, ZwillGen was formed four years ago by two former Sonnenschein partners.

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