(Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

Meredith Jones-McKeown, co-managing partner of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton’s San Francisco office and co-chair of the firm’s construction practice, has joined Perkins Coie as a partner in the firm’s commercial litigation and construction practices. Both firms have been active in the lateral market this year.

Jones-McKeown handles litigation that arises from private and public construction projects, real estate disputes and environmental matters. On the transactional side, she drafts and negotiates complex construction contracts, including architectural and design agreements for a recent $400 million project in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. She spent almost a decade at Sheppard Mullin, where she made partner in 2013.

The national strength of Perkins Coie’s construction practice attracted Jones-McKeown to the firm, she said. Though she will be the first construction partner in its San Francisco office, Jones-McKeown said the expertise of her new firm’s other lawyers, such as environmental, energy and natural resources partner Barbara Schussman and land development chair Matthew Gray, will benefit her clients.

“I think we’re going to be able to grow a really significant construction practice in this office between the combination of my existing client base and Perkins’ existing client base,” said Jones-McKeown, who began her legal career at now-defunct Thelen before joining Sheppard Mullin in 2007.

Perkins Coie’s national construction practice chair Andrew Greene, who is based in the firm’s Seattle headquarters, called Jones-McKeown (pictured right) a “go-to attorney” for construction industry clients in the Bay Area.

“She is a key addition to our practice and will play an important role in representing firm clients on critical transactional and litigation matters,” Greene said in a statement.

Jones-McKeown said Candace Matson, her co-practice leader at Sheppard Mullin, will remain at the firm and continue to head its construction group. (Matson is a longtime leader of Sheppard Mullin’s construction practice, which was once headed by the late Robert Flaig.)

In a March interview, Perkins Coie managing partner John Devaney named San Francisco as one of the markets in which the 921-lawyer firm would try to expand this year. Perkins Coie and Sheppard Mullin both grew financially in 2016, with Perkins Coie’s gross revenue rising 4.3 percent, to $781 million, while 655-lawyer Sheppard Mullin saw gross revenue increase 8.5 percent last year, to $607 million.

Sheppard Mullin has been busy on the lateral hiring front in 2017, particularly in Chicago, where the California-based firm added William Kane, a high-profile commercial litigator at Baker & Hostetler, as a partner in February. Sheppard Mullin also welcomed Winston & Strawn tax chair Amit Kalra in Chicago, as well as a five-lawyer energy team from Winston & Strawn in the Windy City and San Francisco. (Sheppard Mullin did see a five-lawyer business trial team leave its Chicago office in April for Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff.)

In the Bay Area, Sheppard Mullin did see special adviser Arthur Chong leave in March to become general counsel at embattled Yahoo! Inc. That same month, Sheppard Mullin recruited environmental partner Nicholas van Aelstyn from Beveridge & Diamond, where he co-chaired that firm’s climate change and environmental practice groups from San Francisco. In April, Sheppard Mullin added Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp labor and employment partner Samantha Grant in Century City, California.

As for Perkins Coie, Jones-McKeown’s new firm has been equally expansive-minded this year. Perkins Coie recently picked up Polsinelli health care transactional partner William Swart and technology transactions and privacy practice senior counsel K. Randolph Peak II in Dallas, where Peak spent the past two years as general counsel at the Ochsner Health System. Perkins Coie also picked up intellectual property litigation partner Johnny Chiu in Beijing from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, according to sibling publication The Asian Lawyer.

Perkins Coie also welcomed Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr life sciences and IP partner James Hill in Los Angeles and bolstered its financial technology practice last month by recruiting senior counsel Jacob Farber in Washington, D.C., and consulting counsel Frederick Fedynyshyn in Seattle. Fred Rivera, the managing partner of Perkins Coie’s Seattle headquarters, left the firm earlier this year to become general counsel for Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners.

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