Partners Brian Harris, Mark Zisholtz and Jason D’Cruz joined Baker last week with associates Ashley Guffey and Tali Hershkovitz.
That follows Baker’s recruitment of a three-partner tech and data privacy team made up of John Hutchins, Chris Wiech and Janine Anthony Bowen, who joined less than a month ago from LeClairRyan. The new additions give its Atlanta office 72 lawyers.
Baker has been growing its Atlanta office rapidly since June 2015, when a team of more than 30 corporate and health care lawyers decamped from McKenna Long & Aldridge ahead of that firm’s merger with global megafirm Dentons.
The McKenna group transformed Baker’s Atlanta location from a small intellectual property law outpost to a sizable presence in the Atlanta legal market.
“Brian, Mark and Jason’s team will expand the capabilities of our thriving national employment practice while also strengthening our local presence in the Atlanta market,” said Baker’s Atlanta managing partner, Joann Gallagher Jones, in a statement.
The labor and employment team focuses on executive employment issues, such as compensation and restrictive covenants, particularly in relation to public company and private equity transactions, Harris said, so a large national firm will “expand our scope and our reach.”
Harris called the move to Baker “a tremendous opportunity for our group to take advantage of the robust corporate practice that Baker has nationwide” and to work with clients across practice areas, such as IP and tax.
“One of the things that impressed us was Baker’s success in Atlanta with very solid strategic growth,” Harris said. “It’s an impressive group here now.”
Harris said he’s been working with D’Cruz and Zisholtz since joining Morris Manning from McKenna Long & Aldridge almost 13 years ago. Zisholtz took a three-year detour in-house during that time to become general counsel and VP of contingent labor at Duluth-based American CyberSystems, a Morris Manning client.
The team also has some personal connections to Baker lawyers, Harris said, adding that D’Cruz has been neighbors and friends with Baker partner Jim Rawls, who practices health care and media law.
Harris knew several of the Baker lawyers from his first five years in practice as an associate at McKenna, adding that he overlapped at McKenna with Hutchins, Wiech and Bowen, the tech and data privacy partners who joined at the beginning of March. They were partners at McKenna until 2004.
“That personal connection makes [the transition] a lot easier,” he said.