The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

Simpson Thacher Bartlett, which lost an executive compensation partner to Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz this summer but also poached partners from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and Ropes & Gray, has bolstered its ranks in London.
Reports in the British legal press this week state that Simpson Thacher has hired Weil, Gotshal & Manges partner GIL STRAUSS, head of the firm’s European high-yield practice, as a partner. The move is a homecoming of sorts for Strauss, as well as his third lateral move in four years.
Strauss was a counsel with Simpson Thacher in London before leaving the firm in July 2010 to become an equity partner at Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Strauss then left Freshfields in December 2012 for Weil, which installed the leveraged finance expert as head of its European debt group.
In an email, Strauss confirmed his intention to leave Weil for Simpson. Strauss’ departure from the firm is the latest defection from Weil’s London base, which earlier this year saw local banking group head Stephen Lucas join Kirkland & Ellis, as the latter reportedly promised to top his roughly $4 million annual pay package at Weil.
The American Lawyer reported in a May feature story that Weil had conducted a strategic overhaul of its operations within the past year, a process that caused some groups of partners, particularly in Texas, to head elsewhere.
In other Churn news …
Earlier this week, Florida’s Akerman announced a major expansion of its Chicago office with the hire of Reed Smith commercial litigation partner Douglas Albritton. Now the former has also brought on Katten Muchin Rosenman litigation partners MARTIN TULLY—who doubles as the mayor of Downers Grove, Ill., and national chair of his former firm’s e-discovery and information governance practice—and DARA TARKOWSKI, the latter of whom also serves as the CEO and cofounder of Sharp Mamas, a consulting service for expectant mothers. Katten Muchin staff attorney LAUREN COOPER also joins Akerman in the same capacity.
The big news out of Bank of America this week was the financial services giant’s $16.65 billion mortgage settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the largest-ever between the federal government and a private company. BoA’s outside legal team and its in-house ranks helped the Charlotte-based bank reach a deal with Main Justice and six states. It turns out that BoA also added to its in-house litigation expertise this month by hiring Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld litigation partner JEFFREY KING in Washington, D.C., as an associate general counsel and managing director. King, a partner at Akin Gump for the past decade, will lead the global financial crimes, political law and outside business activity in-house legal teams at BoA.
Burr & Forman has brought back construction and litigation counsel JASON NIMMER in Mobile from global steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal, where he served as director of legal at the company’s facility in nearby Calvert. Nimmer specializes in the construction, equipping and operation of manufacturing facilities.
CATHERINE AMIRFAR, a litigation partner within the international dispute resolution group at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, left the firm in late July to join the U.S. Department of State as a counselor on international law. The Global Arbitration Review had more on Amirfar’s new role last month. Amirfar, who has frequently lectured on international legal issues, was honored last year at The Harvard Club in New York for her pro bono work.
Dechert has hired investment funds counsel ASMA CHANDANI in Los Angeles from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where she was a corporate attorney. Chandani, whose practice focuses on fund formation and general corporate work, happens to have her own Wikipedia page.
Global legal giant DLA Piper has hired litigation partner JONATHAN HARAY as a litigation partner in Washington, D.C., where he was most recently assistant chief litigation counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after serving as deputy chief of the fraud and public corruption section at the U.S. attorney’s office in the Beltway. DLA has also brought on MAJORIE WINTERS as director and counsel of its NextGen Environment for STartups (NEST) program in Austin from software and services company Trade Technologies, where she served as vice president and general counsel.
Duane Morris has hired immigration partner MARIETTE “JET” STIGTER in San Francisco from Berry Appleman & Leiden. Stigter advises multinationals on global immigration issues and helps them develop complex immigration strategies.
LINDA RHONE ENION, a tax and wealth planning senior counsel at Pittsburgh’s Lovett Bookman Harmon Marks, has left the firm to join Fox Rothschild as a partner in the Steel City. Enion’s practice involves handling an array of estate planning, tax and trust administration issues.
Irell & Manella has added six lawyers in Los Angeles led by transactional partner JOSHUA GRODE from Liner LLP, formerly known as Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor before adopting its new moniker at the start of this year, according to sibling publication The Recorder. Grode is a leading Hollywood dealmaker, having advised Colony Capital on its $660 million buy of Miramax Films and Summit Entertainment on its $412.5 million sale to Lions Gate Entertainment. Also joining Irell are Liner media and entertainment partners PAUL SWANSON and SAM KOZHAYA, who come aboard as of counsel and counsel, respectively, as well as a trio of associates.
It’s not only IP lawyers leaving Kirkland & Ellis. This week JASON OSBORN, a corporate and middle market private equity expert promoted to the firm’s robust nonequity partner ranks in October 2009, left Kirkland for Jenner & Block in Chicago. Osborn has represented clients in a wide variety of industries.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has hired IP and life sciences partner ANDREW SERAFINI in Seattle from Fenwick & West, which he joined in 2008 from Woodcock Washburn, an IP firm that merged last year with Baker & Hostetler. Serafini, who spoke out last year on gene patents following a high-profile ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, specializes in advising IP clients operating in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.
ROBERT HALLMAN, promoted to partner at Arnold & Porter earlier this year, has left the firm’s business litigation group to become senior product counsel at professional social networking service LinkedIn in Mountain View, Calif., according to records on file with the State Bar of California. Hallman was a member of Arnold & Porter’s recruiting committee. Arnold & Porter antitrust partner ANNETTE SCHILD also left the firm’s Brussels office this month to start her own shop.
SHAVAR JEFFRIES, a prominent civil rights lawyer and runner-up candidate in Newark’s mayoral election earlier this year, has joined Lowenstein Sandler as a litigation partner in the same city, according to sibling publication the New Jersey Law Journal. Jeffries, a Newark native whose familial political ties were covered by The Wall Street Journal last year, has for the past four years been an associate law professor at Seton Hall’s Center for Social Justice.
Mayer Brown has added corporate and private equity partner JEFFREY LEGAULT in New York from Reed Smith, a firm he joined last year from Goodwin Procter. Legault is a Canadian who has worked at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin in Toronto, as well as Shearman & Sterling and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York, the latter as special counsel before he joined Goodwin Procter. His practice focuses on M&A work for public and private companies, private equity firms and investment banks.
HAZEL BRASINGTON has left the Melbourne office of British firm Holman Fenwick Willan for Norton Rose Fulbright, where she will be a partner in the legal giant’s dispute resolution practice. Brasington is admitted to practice in England and Wales, Hong Kong and Australia.
Polsinelli continued its growth surge this month by hiring Bradley Arant Boult Cummings commercial, government contracts and health care litigation partner EMIL HIRSCH and counsel STEVEN POZEFSKY in Washington, D.C., in the same capacity. Polsinelli’s expanding health care practice was the subject of a feature story in The American Lawyer last year.
Ropes & Gray bolstered its nearly 5-year-old London outpost in July by hiring investment funds partner MONICA GOGNA from British firm Pinsent Masons. Gogna joined the latter last year from Clifford Chance, where she spent seven years as a financial services associate at the Magic Circle firm, advising a range of corporate clients on various regulatory issues.
Florida’s Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson has hired REGGIE BOUTHILLIER, a partner at Greenberg Traurig and chair of the firm’s land use and environmental group in Tallahassee, as a partner in the Sunshine State capital. Bouthillier spent more than 20 years at Greenberg Traurig, where his practice focused on energy, environmental, government affairs, infrastructure, land development and real estate work.
JAMES RICHMAN, an Arnold & Porter partner in Los Angeles, left the firm earlier this month for Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, where he’ll serve as chair of the California firm’s real estate practice. Richman is a real estate construction, finance and transactional veteran who will work out of Stradling’s offices in Newport Beach, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica.
Vinson & Elkins corporate workout and restructuring partner TONYA RAMSEY in Dallas left the firm this month for an in-house role at United Surgical Partners International in Addison, Texas. Ramsey did not respond to an email at USPI about her new role at the private equity-owned company, which is a leader in ambulatory surgery and short-stay medicine. USPI did see general counsel and former Vinson associate James Mutrie depart in June.
CARLOS PROVENCIO, a former first vice president and associate general counsel with wealth management and investment advisory company Raymond James in Memphis, has joined the securities and commercial business litigation practices at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker as of counsel in Washington, D.C.
The Churn is compiled from law firm releases, announcements and reporting. Please send all announcements and news releases to