(Diego M. Radzinschi)
Jones Day, whose lawyers continue to make headlines for their work on behalf of the Trump administration, has hired a pair of partners to bolster its labor and employment bench in Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
Amanda Sommerfeld joined Jones Day’s Los Angeles office from Winston & Strawn earlier this year, while Dorsey & Whitney partner Joseph Hammell has come aboard in Minneapolis, where Jones Day opened an office last summer.
Sommerfeld led the defense trial team in Garvey v. Kmart Corp., a class action suit against the big-box retailer over its alleged failure to provide seating for its cashiers. The case ended at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with Kmart agreeing to pay a $280,000 settlement.
Asked what drew her to Jones Day, Sommerfeld said that she has known the firm’s employment group leaders—Matthew Lampe and Michael Gray—for many years, and they sold her on Jones Day’s ethos of client service. She also noted that Jones Day has employment practices in the majority of its 44 offices around the world.
“I’d been at Winston for 17 years, which is a long time,” Sommerfeld said. “Transitions are always challenging, in the sense that change is challenging. But this has been better than I could have imagined, frankly.”
In a statement prepared by Jones Day, Lampe said that Sommerfeld’s hiring demonstrated the firm’s commitment to building out its labor and employment practice in the Golden State. Earlier this month, Jones Day brought on Shearman & Sterling capital markets partner Alan Seem in Palo Alto, California.
“California employment laws are notoriously complicated, and Amanda excels at breaking down complexity and making sure the client’s story remains the focus of the defense,” said Lampe, who has worked at Jones Day for nearly 28 years.
Hammell also cited superior client service as one of the reasons for his move. His practice includes litigation, client counseling and appellate matters. In the month he’s been with Jones Day, Hammell said he’s already experienced two situations in which clients needed assistance overseas—one in Europe, and one in Asia—and the firm was able to connect them with an expert immediately.
“A number of the clients that I do a lot of work with, and I was pleased were willing to come with me, were already clients of Jones Day,” he said.
Jones Day’s Minneapolis office opened in 2016, and Hammell said the fact that the firm had quickly hired two of his close friends—Roy Ginsburg, a labor and employment partner who worked with Hammell at Dorsey & Whitney for two decades, and J. Thomas Vitt, an intellectual property partner who came aboard earlier this year—piqued his interest in working at the firm. He was also impressed when Andrew Luger, a former top federal prosecutor in Minnesota, joined Jones Day’s partnership ranks in May.
“He had the opportunity to go to any firm that he wanted to in the Twin Cities, and he chose Jones Day,” Hammell said of Luger.
Brian Easley, Jones Day’s Minneapolis managing partner, said in a statement that Hammell would provide “a pragmatic and practical approach” to client matters and send “a very clear message that Jones Day is committed to giving our clients access to the finest legal counsel and representation in the region.”
Hammell and Sommerfeld are the latest lateral hires in what has been a busy year for partner recruitment at Jones Day. Just this month alone, Jones Day landed Morgan Lewis & Bockius antirust partner Jürgen Beninca in Frankfurt and brought on James Loonam, deputy chief of the business and securities fraud section at the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, New York, as of counsel for its securities litigation and enforcement practice.
While Foley & Lardner hired Jones Day litigation partner Erik Swanholt in Los Angeles, the latter welcomed Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr technology and IP litigation partner Andrea Jeffries to its ranks in the city late last month. Jones Day also hired tax partner Kathy Keneally in New York, where she was most recently chair of the civil and criminal tax litigation section at DLA Piper, and picked up Clifford Chance government investigations partner Steven Cottreau in Washington, D.C., where he had spent a decade at the Magic Circle firm.