The Churn
(Illustration by Paul Dilakian)

Dickstein Shapiro’s ongoing partner exodus continued last week as the managing partner of the firm’s main office in Washington, D.C., RICHARD LEVERIDGE, decamped amid reported merger talks with Blank Rome to join Adams Holcomb, a litigation shop formed in 2008 by two other former Dickstein Shapiro partners.

The National Law Journal, a sibling publication, reported Friday that another eight partners had left Dickstein Shapiro’s office in Stamford, Connecticut. Reed Smith was thought to be poised to pick up the group—which includes partners CHRISTOPHER CERRITO, MARTIN CLARKE, JOHN FLAHERTY, THOMAS FREED, EVAN SEIDEMAN, LINDSAY SHEEHY, GLORIA SKIGEN and VICTORIA ZERJAV, as well as counsel MARYBETH O’KEEFE and two associates—but a firm spokesman denied to the NLJ that any hires were imminent.

Over the weekend, the profiles on professional networking site LinkedIn of at least six of Dickstein Shapiro’s Stamford defectors—Cerrito, Freed, Seideman, Sheehy, Zerjav and associate Seth Milligan—had been revised to show their new place of employment as Holland & Knight. Clarke served as leader of Dickstein Shapiro’s corporate and finance practice, while Cerrito was his deputy.

Skigen, a corporate and finance pro, and Zerjav, an employee benefits and executive compensation expert, joined Dickstein Shapiro last year from Martin and Kelley Drye & Warren, respectively. Dickstein Shapiro has been losing partners at an increasingly rapid rate since its merger talks with Bryan Cave collapsed in late 2015.

Holland & Knight, no stranger to raiding large firms in distress, did not previously have an office in Connecticut, and it remained unclear at the time of this column whether or not the firm would do so or merely fold its new Dickstein Shapiro hires into its New York office. Holland & Knight, which recently moved its back-office operations center in Tampa, also added two other partners to its ranks in January.

In other On the Move news …

Barnes & Thornburg continued its string of recent litigation hires in Chicago last week by bringing on four partners from IP boutique Brinks, Gilson & Lione led by trademark and unfair competition head CHRISTOPHER DOLAN, former U.S. trademark prosecution practice chair PHILIP JONES and prominent trademark and copyright litigators JOHN GABRIELIDES and MICHELLE MILLER MIKOL.

Bowman and Brooke, a Minneapolis-based firm known for its work representing the auto industry in product liability cases, opened two new Florida offices in Coral Gables and Orlando after merging with a local firm and making some strategic lateral hires. Bowman and Brooke absorbed 29 lawyers from Coral Gables-based Seipp, Flick & Hosley, while also bringing on Carlton Fields Jorden Burt’s appellate and trial support practice group head WENDY LUMISH and litigation partners CRISTINA ALONSO and ALINA ALONSO RODRIGUEZ in the city located just south of Miami, according to sibling publication the Daily Business Review. Florida-based firm Feldman Gale also grabbed Carlton Fields commercial and IP litigation partner THOMAS DYE in West Palm Beach, while Carlton Fields corporate partner JAMES ANDROS in Atlanta left the firm this month for Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs.

Cozen O’Connor hired health care and life sciences partner ERIC SCHWARTZ, a former COO and chief legal officer at Houston-based CardioVIP Inc., in Philadelphia, where he also serves as a founder and principal at Media, Pennsylvania-based private investment firm Jericho Equity Partners LLC. JUSTIN WINEBURGH, head of the media, entertainment and sports law group at Cozen O’Connor, is poised to leave after nearly 16 years in the firm’s Philadelphia headquarters to become CEO of media company Alkemy X, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Dentons added corporate and private equity partner JENNIFER WILLIAMS in Atlanta from her role as general counsel, executive vice president of human resources and corporate secretary at Unisource Worldwide Inc. Dentons government contracts partner ARIANA SARABIA in San Francisco, who joined the global legal giant last year as part of its combination with McKenna Long & Aldridge, has decamped to become a partner at Morris Polich & Purdy in the Bay Area. Sarabia landed at McKenna Long in late 2014 after she served as chief counsel for corporate ethics and compliance officer for construction company Gilbane Federal.

DLA Piper picked up Greenberg Traurig litigation partner LAURA SIXKILLER in Phoenix, while also adding SUZANNA BRICKMAN as a full-time pro bono counsel in Washington, D.C., from Morrison & Foerster, where the NLJ reports she was a senior litigation associate. British firm Berwin Leighton Paisner bolstered its disputes team in Dubai by hiring DLA Piper legal director ALEXANDER SARAC in London and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as well as King & Spalding partner RAZA MITHANI, according to U.K. publication Legal Business.

DLA Piper corporate partner JEFFREY POTASH in Washington, D.C., joined Covington & Burling as a partner inside the Beltway, while DLA Piper labor and employment partner JEANNE PHELAN, who joined the firm’s Baltimore office six years ago, has started her own shop in the city. DLA Piper litigation partner E. COLIN THOMPSON in Tampa, where the global legal giant just closed up shop in December, joined local firm Smolker, Bartlett, Loeb, Hinds & Sheppard as a partner.

Fox Rothschild, the focus of a recent Am Law Daily Spotlight on Strategy after pulling off a merger with a Minneapolis-based firm late last year, recently added partner MARGARET DAVINO in New York from Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan, where she headed the firm’s health care practice group.

Haynes and Boone brought back former IP partner JENNIFER LANTZ in Palo Alto, California—where her previous firm merged with Haynes and Boone in 2009—from Hogan Lovells in Silicon Valley. Haynes and Boone saw corporate partner BART GREENBERG in Costa Mesa, California, leave the firm to join the Pivotal Law Firm Inc. in nearby Irvine, while Thompson Hine hired Haynes and Boone litigation partner LOUIS SOLOMON in New York. TIMOTHY MCCARTHY, a litigation partner in the New York office of British firm Mishcon de Reya, also joined Thompson Hine.

Herrick, Feinstein hired corporate and real estate counsel LOUIS SEMINSKI JR. in New York from Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in Woodbridge, New Jersey. MICHAEL MCMAHON, a partner at Herrick in New York and co-chair of the firm’s government relations group, left in January after being elected late last year as district attorney for Staten Island, New York. McMahon joined Herrick in 2011 after serving a term in Congress.

Holland & Hart, which just elected 15 new partners to its ranks, welcomed of counsel ANN HOPFENBECK to its Denver technology center office in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Hopfenbeck joined Holland & Hart from local firm Ducker, Montgomery, Lewis & Bess, where she was a partner.

Jackson Lewis landed GAIL HOLTZMAN, head of the labor and employment group at Tampa’s Kass Shuler, as a partner in the city, while also hiring partner THOMAS BERRY JR. in St. Louis from Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard, where he chaired the local firm’s employment law team. Jackson Lewis lured employee benefits of counsel MUSETTE VINCENT in Cleveland from her role as vice president and senior attorney at National City Corp. Atlanta-based labor and employment firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete opened a Miami office by hiring Jackson Lewis partner DEVAND “DAVE” SUKHDEO, according to the DBR. Jackson Lewis immigration of counsel SUJATA AJMERA in Austin, Texas, joined Strasburger & Price as a partner, while Jackson Lewis labor and employment partner MISTI MUKHERJEE in Reston, Virginia, became executive vice president and general counsel at Annapolis, Maryland-based hospitality company Towne Park Ltd.

Jones Day reeled in Ropes & Gray IP partner PABLO HENDLER in New York, while also welcoming Morrison & Foerster IP litigation partners M. ANDREW WOODMANSEE and CARY MILLER in San Diego. Jones Day also added Sidley Austin real estate and finance counsel LISA SPELHAUG in Chicago, while IP counsel DAVID ODOM left the firm’s Dallas office to join McDermott Will & Emery as counsel.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman picked up securities litigation partner STEPHEN TOUNTAS from Bleichmar Fonti Tountas & Auld, a New York-based litigation boutique formed in 2014 by four defectors from high-powered plaintiffs firm Labaton Sucharow. Tountas’ former firm has renamed itself Bleichmar Fonti & Auld.

Kirkland & Ellis hired NORM CHAMP, a former head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of investment management, as a partner for its private equity and regulatory compliance practices in New York. Kirkland also added Mayer Brown associate ELIZABETH DYER as of counsel for its employee benefits group in Chicago, where Kirkland litigation partner VIKAS DIDWANIA left the firm late last year to join the U.S. attorney’s office in the Windy City. Didwania made partner at Kirkland late last year.

The Am Law Daily reported last week on Latham & Watkins continuing the shakeup in the German legal market by bagging buyout veteran RAINER TRAUGOTT in Munich from Linklaters, where he served as head of the Magic Circle firm’s local private equity practice. Traugott spent the past 14 years at Linklaters.

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, the newest member of the Am Law 200 following a merger earlier this year, landed IP licensing and e-commerce of counsel JOHN CARSON in Los Angeles from Arent Fox, where he was a senior attorney. Carlson leaves Arent Fox’s Los Angeles office around the same time that 11 other lawyers left to form their own litigation boutique in the city.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough added to its real estate capital markets practice in Atlanta by adding Morris Manning & Martin partners DAVID BURCH and RUSTY FLEMING, as well as Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton of counsel MEENA DEV-SIDHU and three associates, as noted by sibling publication the Daily Report. Nelson Mullins also added financial technology partner KIRAN LINGAM in New York late last year from equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest, where he was general counsel and vice president of business development. INEZ TENENBAUM, a former chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and a Nelson Mullins partner in Columbia, South Carolina, left the firm late last year to form her own shop.

TONY GREER, a former chief counsel for insurance in the TennCare oversight division of Tennessee’s Department of Commerce and Insurance, joined Nelson Mullins late last year as an insurance regulatory partner in Nashville. PATRICK CLENDENEN, a litigator and former hiring partner at Nelson Mullins in Boston, joined local firm Sally & Fitch as a partner. Nelson Mullins construction litigation partner RYAN EARHART in Columbia formed his own shop in the city called Earhart Overstreet, while Nelson Mullins business litigation of counsel SARAH TOPPI in Jacksonville, Florida, left the firm in December to become senior litigation counsel at Savannah, Georgia-based TMX Finance, parent company of personal finance brands such as TitleMax, InstaLoan and EquityAutoLoan.

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, a firm that watched the former vice chair of its product liability practice leave for Barnes & Thornburg, picked up real estate counsel JASON POLEVOY from his role as a partner at New York’s Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen. Patterson Belknap employment services counsel and ERISA expert BRUCE WOLFF left the firm’s Big Apple office late last year to join Roseland, New Jersey-based Brach Eichler as counsel.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, having already made several notable lateral hires already this year, is also poised to hire CHAD JOHNSON as a partner in New York, according to The New York Times. Johnson, most recently a top lieutenant in the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where he served as chief of the investor protection bureau, was previously a partner at Latham & Watkins and top plaintiffs firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann.

The Am Law Daily reported Friday on the impending departure of a 22-partner team from Schiff Hardin in Chicago to form litigation boutique Riley, Safer, Holmes & Cancila. Among those hauling off from Schiff Hardin are former managing partner RONALD SAFER, co-head of the firm’s compliance and internal investigations practice, ex-chairman ROBERT RILEY, class actions co-head JOSEPH CANCILA JR., former judge and compliance and internal investigations head PATRICIA HOLMES, IP head STEPHEN HANKINS, product liability and mass tort head MATTHEW FISCHER, general litigation head THOMAS QUINN and deputy general litigation co-leaders MATTHEW CROWL and HEIDI DALENBERG. Safer stepped down as head of Schiff Hardin last year, according to our previous reports.

Squire Patton Boggs brought on global real estate of counsel BRADLEY WRIGHT in Phoenix, where he most recently served as chairman of the Arizona Organizing Committee hosting the 2016 College Football Championship Game. Squire Patton Boggs snagged Shearman & Sterling partner turned of counsel DONALD LAMSON in Washington, D.C., for its bank regulatory and supervisory practice. In Miami, Squire Patton Boggs picked up Cole, Scott & Kissane complex civil litigation partner JONATHAN WEISS as of counsel for its litigation group. ANTHONY VAN DER HAUWAERT, who spent the past 14 years as head of Squire Patton Boggs’ Belgium practice, decamped in Brussels for King & Wood Mallesons, a firm recently caught up in issues over partner compensation.