The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

Four Am Law 200 firms announced plans for new office openings within the past week, and they’re all adding to their head count in a quest for new horizons.

Eight months after applying for a license to practice law in Singapore, Dechert is preparing to open an outpost in the city-state after bringing on O’Melveny & Myers investment funds partner DEAN COLLINS, according to sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer.

Collins’ move to Dechert emerged in the British legal press earlier this year, although his new firm needed to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals in Singapore in order to make his hire official. (U.K. publication Legal Week reported last week that O’Melveny’s Hong Kong office is poised to lose finance partner DAMIEN COLES and restructuring counsel BRONWEN MAY to Hogan Lovells.)

Elsewhere in Asia, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has orchestrated a five-lawyer raid on Paul Hastings in Beijing, according to sibling publication The Asian Lawyer. DAVID LIVDAHL, managing partner of Paul Hastings’ base in the Chinese capital, is leaving the firm, along with corporate partner JENNY SHENG and three associates.

Back in the U.S., sibling publication Texas Lawyer reported last week on LeClairRyan’s entry into the Houston market through its merger with local firm Hays McConn Rice & Pickering. JOHN CAHILL JR., managing partner of Hays McConn, will join LeClairRyan along with 18 other lawyers, nine of whom are partners. The Dallas Morning News reported this week on the rush of national firms seeking to set up shop in Texas.

Lastly, Dickstein Shapiro’s woes continued this week as the struggling firm lost an insurance coverage team to Lowenstein Sandler led by partners JEFFREY BLUMENFELD, MATTHEW MAGIDSON, MIGUEL POZO, ANDREW REIDY, CATHERINE SERAFIN and MICHAEL MCGAUGHEY, as well as counsel JOSEPH SAKA. All will open a new office for Lowenstein in Washington, D.C., except for McGaughey, who will join Lowenstein in Los Angeles, reports sibling publication Legal Times.

In other Churn news …

Baker & Hostetler has hired partner L. POE LEGGETTE in Denver from Norton Rose Fulbright, where he served as partner-in-charge of the latter’s Denver and Pittsburgh offices and regional head of its Americas energy practice. At his new firm, Leggette will cochair its energy group and growing national shale team.

Baker & McKenzie has brought on international arbitration partner LUIS O’NAGHTEN in Miami from Akerman, where he chaired the Florida firm’s arbitration group. The move comes a week after Baker & McKenzie regained the top spot in our annual Global 100 list by topping $2.5 billion in gross revenue and launched a South African competition practice with its bolt-on of VANI CHETTY’s Johannesburg boutique Vani Chetty Competition Law. Nonetheless, the global legal giant did see Tokyo dispute resolution practice cochair HAIG OGHIGIAN defect for K&L Gates in the Japanese capital, according to The Asian Lawyer.

MARK COSTLEY, who joined Drinker Biddle & Reath five years ago this month as a financial services partner in Washington, D.C., has left the firm to join Ballard Spahr’s investment management practice as of counsel in the Beltway.

Bass, Berry & Sims has launched a specialty pharmacy, pharmaceutical services and distribution practice by hiring former Accredo Health Group chief counsel MICHAEL HESS as a partner in Memphis. Hess joins Bass Berry from Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, where the Nashville Post reports he led his former firm’s drug, device and life sciences team.

The American Lawyer reported in its Focus Europe supplement six years ago on Kiev’s growing market for legal services. Earlier this year, many of those same firms were hunkering down in Ukraine’s restive capital city. As the unrest has continued, albeit in the country’s eastern regions, Chadbourne & Parke recently decided to shutter its office in Kiev. ADAM MYCYK, one of two Chadbourne partners in Kiev who rejoined the firm last year after a stint at CMS Cameron McKenna, has joined Dentons’ corporate practice in the city. Dentons itself has also raided Jones Day for aviation and space business partners ELIZABETH EVANS and DEEPAK REDDY in New York, as well as senior counsel DELBERT SMITH in Washington, D.C. Evans will cochair her new firm’s aviation finance practice.

The Asian Lawyer reports that Cooley has hired investment funds partner PANG LEE in Shanghai from Shearman & Sterling, where he was counsel in Hong Kong for the past three years. Lee advises fund managers and investors on formation and operations matters.

Dickinson Wright has hired immigration of counsel SUZANNE SUKKAR in Ann Arbor, Mich., from Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, where she was senior counsel. Sukkar joined Miller Canfield in 2012 from her own shop in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth.

ELIZABETH RITTER, a former chief counsel with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has joined her former boss Bart Chilton as a partner in DLA Piper’s corporate finance and derivatives practice in Washington, D.C. Chilton, a former CFTC commissioner who is not a lawyer, became a senior policy adviser at DLA in April. DLA also recently added Greenberg Traurig litigation partner BEVIN BRENNAN in Chicago, although DLA did recently lose commercial real estate partner CARRIE FOLLAS in Sydney to Australian firm Johnson Winter & Slattery and real estate finance counsel PAUL CICCHETTI in New York to Polsinelli. Cicchetti will be a partner at Polsinelli.

A little more than a year after leaving Greenberg Traurig for Hughes Hubbard & Reed in Miami, sibling publication the Daily Business Review reports that partner JEFFREY TENEN and of counsel ISRAEL SANCHEZ have returned to their former firm to launch a new global aircraft and equipment finance and leasing practice.

Jackson Lewis has landed Atlanta workplace litigation partner CARLA GUNNIN from Baker Donelson, which she joined in late 2012 from local shop Constangy Brooks & Smith. Gunnin regularly litigates cases that involve the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

DANIEL ROZANSKY, an entertainment partner in Los Angeles with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, has left the firm for Jenner & Block’s content, media and entertainment practice in the same city. Rozansky was caught up in the litigation filed against Stroock and several others firms by film financier David Bergstein.

Kelley Drye & Warren has hired litigation partner WILLIAM GYVES in New York and Parsippany, N.J., from Epstein Becker & Green, a firm he joined three years ago from New York’s Entwistle & Cappucci to cochair its litigation steering committee. Kelley Drye has lost private equity chair JOHN CAPETTA to Stamford, Conn.-based Martin LLP, according to sibling publication the Connecticut Law Tribune.

King & Spalding has hired IP litigation partner THOMAS GRAY in Palo Alto from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he served as cohead of the firm’s trade secrets subpractice, according to sibling publication The Recorder.

Littler Mendelson, the labor and employment legal giant with a management side focus, has hired Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker partner SHERRIL COLOMBO in Miami and Haynes and Boone partner A. JOHN HARPER III in Houston. Harper was promoted to partner at Haynes and Boone earlier this year.

Locke Lord has locked up McDermott Will & Emery corporate partner SCOTT ARRINGTON for its energy transactional practice in Houston. Arrington left Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld back in 2008 to help McDermott open an office in Houston, a city that The American Lawyer reported earlier this year has become a hot spot for large firms.

Mayer Brown is yet another Am Law 100 firm growing in Houston, announcing its hire this week of Baker Botts corporate partner THOMAS MOORE, an oil and gas industry expert who joined the latter in 2012 after fleeing the local office of now-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf.

McKenna Long & Aldridge, coping with a spate of partner departures following the firm’s decision to nix a merger with Dentons late last year, has added to its ranks in New York by hiring Clyde & Co aviation and transportation litigation partner DIANE WESTWOOD WILSON. A founding and managing partner of the British firm’s U.S. operations after leaving Condon & Forsyth in 2006, Wilson and Clyde & Co were slapped with a $6 million suit last year by a former senior counsel at the latter. The dispute, which involved allegations of overbilling, was sent to arbitration earlier this year, although Wilson and her former firm have since won a judgment that remains under seal in their favor.

DONNA RASCOE, an educational law partner with Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog in Raleigh, has left the firm to become a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. Rascoe is a former teacher and school administrator who represents public and private schools in litigation and a variety of other matters.

Peabody Energy has hired Venable lobbying and litigation partner RAYMOND SHEPHERD III in Washington, D.C., to become its new vice president of federal government relations. Shepherd, who chaired Venable’s congressional investigations practice, will help the St. Louis-based coal producer advance its public policy and regulatory interests on U.S. energy and environmental matters.

TED GROPMAN, a lawyer with his own construction law practice in suburban Woodland Hills, Calif., has shuttered his solo shop and joined Pepper Hamilton as a partner in Los Angeles. Gropman represents contractors, architects and other real estate professionals on both public and private work projects.

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, which took a hit last month when a trio of senior partners were injured in a car crash on their way to an annual partners meeting in Minnesota, has hired Becker & Poliakoff business litigation vice chair MICHAEL WHITT in Naples, Fla., to establish an eminent domain practice for the Minneapolis-based firm. As it happens, Becker & Poliakoff has had its own tough times lately, as cofounding partner and former managing partner Gary Poliakoff passed away on Aug. 8 at 69.

LISA DUNSKY, a former financial services partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman in Chicago, has left the firm to become an investment funds and derivatives counsel with Sidley Austin in the Windy City. Dunsky is a former executive director and associate general counsel for the CME Group, who left the operator of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for Katten in 2012.

JAMES BLACK, a former M&A partner with White & Case in Frankfurt and Washington, D.C., has left the global firm for the Beltway base of Atlanta-based Smith, Gambrell & Russell. Black’s practice focuses on advising foreign companies—particularly those from Austria, Germany and Switzerland—on legal matters related to their U.S. operations.

Snell & Wilmer has snagged patent prosecution partner JONATHAN JAECH and IP litigation counsel GLENN TROST in Los Angeles from national IP boutique Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg. The duo join former Novak Druce colleague GRANT LANGTON, who became cochair of the California IP practice at Snell & Wilmer in early July.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan has brought on McDermott tax partner LEAH ROBINSON in New York. Robinson joined McDermott in 2010 after working in the office of chief counsel at the IRS in Manhattan.

Thompson & Knight has added Andrews Kurth government and regulatory practice partners REX VANMIDDLESWORTH and PHILLIP OLDHAM in Austin. Middlesworth, who is married to author Diane Umstead, is a litigator who previously served as managing partner of Andrews Kurth’s Austin office. Oldham specializes in energy industry work.

Uber Technologies, the San Francisco-based ridesharing startup, has hired Covington & Burling special counsel TODD HAMBLET in Redwood Shores, Calif., to become its managing corporate counsel.

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