It’s the second big loss this week for Hawkins Parnell, which saw a group of seven toxic and mass tort lawyers leave to join Lathrop Gage in Dallas and Los Angeles on Thursday.
Gordon Rees’ Dallas hires include partners Edward Slaughter, Jason Irvin, Beverly Bond, Clyde “Chip” Adams, Andrea Cook, Saxon Guerriere and Barret Marshall Jr.; as well as associates Andrew Albert, Dixon Cheung, Jadyn Cleveland, Quincy Jones, Alexa Mizer, Monica Niewiarowski, Nathan Pearman, and Kristina A. Pierre-Louis.
Kathleen Benton joins Gordon Rees as a partner in Los Angeles, while Gregory DeBeer and Katie Doll Putman join as partners in St. Louis, along with associate Christopher Enger.
Mike Pietrykowski, a Gordon Rees partner in California who heads the firm’s environmental and toxic tort group, said he has known Slaughter, Irvin, and others in the Hawkins Parnell group for many years, and they’ve worked together numerous times representing co-defendants in asbestos cases and other tort litigation.
“They are just fine people and they are excellent trial lawyers,” Pietrykowski said.
He said when the Hawkins Parnell group expressed interest in making a lateral move, it was “super easy and seemed natural” because he and his colleagues have known many of the lawyers for so long.
In addition to bolstering the firm’s environmental and tort expertise, he said, the new laterals substantially boost the size of the firm’s Dallas office.
“Dallas—and Texas—has always been a significant jurisdiction in the toxic tort world, and they also give us lawyers placed in a part of the country [where] they can cover a lot of jurisdictions very easily,” Pietrykowski said.
Dion Cominos, Gordon Rees’ managing partner, said in a statement that the firm “could not be more pleased” with the new group.
“Their technical savvy and geographic breadth perfectly complements the firm’s national platform, which continues expanding to best position us to serve our clients’ needs throughout the country,” Cominos wrote.
Irvin said his group was impressed with Gordon Rees’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. And, he said, its network of 52 offices will be helpful in providing service to their clients, who are involved in litigation around the country.
“Their culture fits with what we see as important in mentoring and bringing up the next generation of lawyers. We have a great group that enjoys practicing law together,” Irvin said.
Irvin said they decided to consider other law firms after the death in June of Lane Young II, a toxic tort partner at Hawkins Parnell who had worked closely with their group and tried suits with them.
“Our bond with Lane Young was probably among the strongest with anyone at Hawkins Parnell, but we are really leaving for different opportunity, not because we don’t have immense respect for the attorneys and staff at Hawkins Parnell & Young, because it is a great firm,” Irvin said.
Irvin said his group’s clients include Paccar and Meritor.
With the new hires, the 892-lawyer Gordon Rees has 48 lawyers in Dallas, 91 in Los Angeles and 11 in St. Louis. It has 52 offices, including Dallas, Houston and Austin in Texas.
In response to the departures this week to Gordon Rees and Lathrop Gage, Hawkins Parnell said in a statement that the departed lawyers chose to take their practice in a different direction.
“Hawkins Parnell & Young has never been stronger and remains laser focused on its progressive and disciplined strategy to our growth. We are unwavering in our commitment of resources to provide best-in-class legal representation in trials, appeals, and litigation management to our diverse client base of individuals, large corporations and businesses nationwide,” the firm wrote in the statement.
Hawkins Parnell now has four partners in Dallas, led by partner-in-charge Troy Helling.