Litigation and antitrust partner David Goldstein has left Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to rejoin several of his former Heller Ehrman colleagues at Farmer Brownstein Jaeger & Goldstein, a San Francisco-based boutique that has added his name to its shingle.
Goldstein and his co-worker David Brownstein joined Orrick in 2008 when Heller Ehrman’s partners voted to dissolve the 118-year-old firm. Another of their partners, Charles “Chuck” Jaeger, was recruited to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Three years after Heller Ehrman collapsed, Brownstein and Jaeger came together and joined William “Buck” Farmer to form a boutique law firm that specializes in antitrust and other complex business litigation. Since then, the group at the firm formerly known as Farmer Brownstein Jaeger has been trying to convince Goldstein to join.
“Having been in the large firm environment for almost 30 years, the pull of the invitation to work with two guys I had grown up with as a young lawyer until Heller folded in 2008 was too strong to resist. And Buck is wonderful. I had a great experience working with him in a price-fixing case, and I learned a lot from him,” said Goldstein. “So, it was more the pull of working here than just wanting to leave the Big Law firm environment. I was in large firms for almost 30 years, and the attraction of trying something different like this was very strong.”
Goldstein started working at the firm on Feb. 12. After working at big firms for most of his career, Goldstein said it has been a big transition for him, but he was excited to reunite with his former colleagues.
Goldstein has represented both defendants and plaintiffs in complex litigation in federal and state courts, as well as in arbitrations. For the past 20 years, much of his practice has focused on antitrust and competition matters involving cartels, dominant firms and monopoly cases.
“Most of my practice the past 15 years has been antitrust work, but commercial litigation has always been part of my work, and I greatly enjoy it,” said Goldstein. He expects to do more commercial litigation at the boutique.
With Goldstein joining the team, the firm currently has five partners, as well as an office manager, a legal assistant, and other contract lawyers as needed.
“We not only respect David a great deal as a lawyer because we practiced with him—he is a great friend of ours—but the other factor is that we are buried right now with work, and we need help,” Jaeger said.
Unlike big firms, Goldstein said his boutique does not offer the same administrative support. However, he said that is also an advantage since the boutique has less overhead costs and charges clients lower billing rates.
“What we are trying to do as a smaller firm—and I think this is probably true for lots of firms like ours—is that when we get hired, the partners do the work,” said Goldstein. “We don’t usually work in teams of five, six or seven people, so we have very close relationships with clients. They really get our attention.”
The group said as of now they are comfortable with their current size. As more big firms are moving into California, increasing the competition in the market, their strategy is collaborating with the big firms instead of competing head-to-head with them.
“If the case has 50 or 100 million pieces of paper, and requires a squad of lawyers, we are not in competition with them,” Brownstein said. But, he added, there are plenty of cases that don’t call for “a lot of associates, that can be handled very efficiently at [a] firm our size at sort of the partner level.”