The three-partner tax team led by Joshua Richardson, Adam Beckerink and Michael Liu will be based in Morgan Lewis’ Windy City office, where it will advise clients on U.S. and international tax planning and disputes matters. Liu will also practice out of Morgan Lewis’ office in Palo Alto, California, where the firm relocated to new office space in 2016.
All three lawyers come to Morgan Lewis from rival global legal giant Baker McKenzie. In doing so, they reunite with two former colleagues. Thomas Linguanti, the former North American tax head at Baker McKenzie, joined Morgan Lewis in a high-profile lateral move last summer. Tax controversy partner Jenny Austin headed to Morgan Lewis from Baker McKenzie shortly thereafter. In an email, Liu also cited the opportunity to work again with Morgan Lewis tax partner Peter Daub in Washington, D.C., who joined the firm from Baker McKenzie in 2015.
Jami Wintz McKeon, leader of Morgan Lewis since 2014, touted her new recruits.
“As the U.S. tax system has undergone its biggest change in decades, and state and local governments become more aggressive in seeking tax revenue, our clients will benefit from the addition of Josh, Adam and Mike to our already leading tax team,” McKeon said.
Morgan Lewis, which in December picked up six health care lawyers in Houston, now has 86 lawyers working out of its tax group, including eight in Chicago and another 20 in the Bay Area. The 1,844-lawyer firm placed No. 9 on The American Laywer’s most recent Am Law 100 list when ranked by gross revenue.
Barton Bassett, who leads Morgan Lewis’ tax practice from Palo Alto, said the firm is building out its tax group in the Midwest as a result of the arrival of Linguanti and his team.
“The law has changed,” said Bassett, who joined Morgan Lewis in 2008 from Fenwick & West.
Bassett added that recent U.S. tax reforms are driving a lot of change for businesses doing transactions, as well other issues at the state and local level. However, Bassett said the nature of Morgan Lewis’ practice is still the same, which is to assist clients on evaluating the legal impacts of the new rules and advise them on international and domestic investments.
Liu wrote in an email that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has reshaped the U.S. tax landscape when it comes to cross-border deals, particularly for the large multinational companies that he often advises on supply chain and operational issues.
“Many [companies] that were initially quite excited by the prospect of these reforms are now discovering unexpected anomalies that may limit some of the anticipated benefits,” Liu said. “Much of our work over the last few months has been helping clients identify and navigate these issues.”
Morgan Lewis had a busy start to 2017 as a result of its links to the Trump administration and its hire of nine partners in Hong Kong from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. So far this year, Morgan Lewis saw the former head its of antitrust practice, Darren Tucker, leave its office in Washington, D.C., with another partner to join Vinson & Elkins. John Ring, a labor and employment partner in the nation’s capital, recently disclosed a $2.7 million partnership share in Morgan Lewis as he prepares to fill a vacant seat on the National Labor Relations Board.
On Monday, Morgan Lewis commercial litigation partner Thomas Hixson in San Francisco was tapped to fill a federal magistrate judge position. Julie Davies, elected to the partnership at Morgan Lewis in Palo Alto in late 2016, recently left the firm to become general counsel at Autonomic Inc. in the same city. Morgan Lewis did hire finance and restructuring partner Georgia Quenby and of counsel Victoria Thompson last week from Reed Smith in London.