Crowell & Moring offices in Washington, D.C.
Crowell & Moring offices in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

Laura Foggan, a longtime litigator at Wiley Rein and leader of the firm’s insurance appellate group, has joined Crowell & Moring as a partner in Washington, D.C.

Reached by phone at Crowell & Moring late Wednesday, where she had started the process of setting up her new office, Foggan confirmed her decision to leave Wiley Rein after nearly 30 years at the firm. Foggan, who has served as lead counsel in insurance disputes in a range of industries, said she knew several individuals at Crowell & Moring, but declined further comment about her move.

“[Laura’s] deep experience handling insurance litigation matters before trial and appellate courts and representing insurers will be of great benefit to our clients,” said a statement by Crowell & Moring insurance and reinsurance co-chair William O’Neill. “Her addition builds on [the firm’s] capabilities for handling complex litigation across the U.S.”

Crowell & Moring’s addition of Foggan for its insurance and reinsurance group comes a few weeks after the firm engaged in discussions with New York’s Herrick, Feinstein about a potential merger. It also marks the latest high-profile partner departure from Wiley Rein, a firm that has been in transition over the past year.

The National Law Journal reported in early November on the departure of Wiley Rein partner Robert McDowell—a former commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission—to co-lead the global communications practice at Cooley in Washington, D.C. DLA Piper, which earlier this year recruited Wiley Rein’s former food and drug practice chair James Czaban, also recently hired three telecommunications lawyers and two engineers from Wiley Rein led by partners R. Michael Senkowski and Nancy Victory. In November, Perkins Coie picked up telecom litigator Andrew McBride.

Almost a year ago this week, Wiley Rein co-founding partners Richard Wiley and Bert Rein announced their retirement from the firm’s leadership board. Wiley Rein also let go of more than a dozen lawyers and 30 staffers in 2015 after acquiring a lobbying shop called McBee Strategic that it renamed Signal Group in October.

Wiley Rein has made some other more recent additions, bringing on Whiteford, Taylor & Preston tax counsel Michael Grace in October as a consulting tax counsel in Washington, D.C., while welcoming consulting IP counsel Lalita Pace and Arie Michelsohn to its inside-the-Beltway base. Mary Martin, of counsel with Wiley Rein’s professional liability practice, left in November to join the U.S. Department of Commerce’s office of counsel and the inspector general.

As for Foggan (pictured right), she becomes the latest lateral recruit to Crowell & Moring, which a month ago hired Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke commercial litigation partner Sarah Gilbert in New York. Satterlee Stephens was in tie-up talks with Crowell & Moring in early 2016, according to sibling publication the New York Law Journal, although those discussions were over by spring.

In October, Crowell & Moring added a new ERISA practice head in David McFarlane, who joined the firm’s Affordable Care Act and employee benefits partner in Los Angeles after serving as an in-house lawyer at risk management and insurance brokerage giant Willis Towers Watson.

Crowell & Moring did see tax partner Donald Griswold, who joined the firm in 2012 from Reed Smith, where he once helped noted trial lawyer Jan Schlichtmann, depart its office in the nation’s capital in November to become senior counsel in the tax group of Warren Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Jeffrey Smith, a former head of the environmental practice at Cravath, Swaine & Moore who joined Crowell & Moring’s New York office that same year, quietly left the firm in June to join Sidley Austin as senior counsel.

Expanding its base in the Big Apple, which has been open for a decade, by bolting on a midsized firm like Herrick, Feinstein has been become a key part of the strategy adopted by Crowell & Moring’s new leader Angela Styles, elected by the firm’s 100-strong partnership in early 2015. Crowell & Moring saw gross revenue slip slightly in 2015, to $363 million, while profits per partner at the roughly 500-lawyer firm remained mostly flat at $1.035 million.