Mann, an experienced class action, products liability and toxic tort litigator, had worked with the Atlanta office’s founders—Ann-Marie McGaughey, Wayne Bradley and Petrina McDaniel—over the last decade at Dentons and predecessor firm McKenna Long & Aldridge, which was acquired by Dentons three years ago.
After 22 years in practice, “working consecutively without a real break,” Mann said she decided to take a breather and consider her options before ultimately deciding on Squire Patton Boggs.
“It’s about what I want the future to look like,” she said, adding that she’d considered several firms. “The excitement of helping to develop this office with Squire was the standout to me.”
“Squire stood out to me as being very unique from other firms here in Atlanta—the enthusiasm of leadership for the Atlanta office, their vision around that and their concrete ties to Atlanta in terms of current clients and client expansion,” Mann said.
Mann, who is African-American, added that Squire’s diversity was “one of the points that swayed me in its favor.”
With Mann, three of Squire’s four Atlanta partners are women and two are African-American. Six of the nine lawyers in the office are female.
McGaughey, who is Squire’s Atlanta managing partner, and Bradley have cross-border transactional practices, while McDaniel is a commercial litigator and data privacy lawyer.
One shared client, Mann said, was a multinational conglomerate for which she handled national strategy in mass-tort litigation, while McGaughey handled several M&A transactions and McDaniels advised on data privacy issues. Mann declined to name the client.
Those engagements happened, McGaughey said, “because Dara is a collaborative person. That’s why we’re so excited to have her.”
“In building this office, we really have the chance to build something special, and Dara is a key piece of that,” McGaughey said.
Squire seeks partners who have strong practices, excel at client relations, are collaborative and good mentors to associates, she said. “Not all partners can do that. Dara can.”
Mann is the 10th partner to depart Dentons’ Atlanta office since the beginning of the year, when a unique commitment agreement that McKenna partners joining Dentons had to sign expired. Most recently, David Gordon went to Polsinelli, and Crissy Wolf joined Krevolin & Horst. Another partner, Randy Evans, who announced his plans to depart in April, was just confirmed as ambassador to Luxembourg.
Mann officially joined Squire on May 15 but then took a long-scheduled vacation, a wellness retreat focused on fitness and nutrition, at a spa in Carlsbad, California.
“I just got back on Saturday, so I’m hitting the ground running this week,” Mann said.
The bulk of her practice is handling class actions and product liability for national clients, she said.
She was national class action counsel for Continental Automotive Systems in litigation consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after a 2016 recall of more than 630,000 airbag control units. The case was dismissed last year.
McGaughey said she and the other Atlanta partners are being very deliberate in building the local office, with the long-term goal of a full-service office. Public finance and debt finance are two areas they are interested in adding, on top of the litigation and transactional base.
“We don’t have headhunters out there looking,” McGaughey said. “We’ve been approached by different practice areas, and if it makes sense, we’ll do it.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect that Dentons partner Randy Evans had not left the firm at the time of publication.