George Fatheree III

Real estate counsel George Fatheree III has left Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to join Munger, Tolles & Olson’s Los Angeles office.

Fatheree officially started working Monday at Munger Tolles as a partner in its real estate group. He was previously counsel at Skadden, which he joined in 2008 after a clerkship with Judge Ferdinand Fernandez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

“Skadden was an amazing place to get world-class training as a real estate attorney,” said Fatheree, who was promoted to counsel at Skadden in 2015. “I am excited about the move to Munger because it is really a chance to join Misty Sanford and Jeff Heintz, who lead the real estate team here, and to take the training I have developed at Skadden and work with Misty and Jeff to launch their real estate group to the next level.”

The Harvard alum graduated from Loyola Law School in 2007. Before becoming an attorney, Fatheree served as the chief operating officer of the public education reform California Charter Schools Association. He also worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. in Los Angeles and Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in New York, Mexico City, and São Paulo.

“George is a phenomenal real estate attorney and a fantastic addition to our firm as we grow our real estate practice,” said a statement from Sanford. “His vast experience in large and complex real estate transactions and commitment to client service will help us elevate our practice area and create additional opportunities for our firm.”

Fatheree joins Munger Tolles as the third partner in its real estate group, along with Sanford and Heintz. According to the Los Angeles-based Am Law 100 firm, which opened its doors in 1962, it now has 137 lawyers in its home city, including 63 partners. At Munger Tolles, Fatheree will focus his practice on all aspects of commercial real estate transactions.

“The move to Munger for me is an opportunity to focus more on projects that are going to be transformative for the communities where they are in,” Fatheree said. “Munger has a distinctive practice around representing or leading real estate projects that really have impacts in the communities.”

As a lawyer who has dedicated thousands of hours to pro bono work, Fatheree said he was also attracted to Munger Tolles’ involvement in civic engagement and law firm diversity issues.

Nonetheless, the firm most recently made headlines for requiring summer associates to agree to arbitration in their employment contracts. Munger Tolles subsequently backed away from that stance after Ian Samuel, a former Jones Day associate and current lecturer at Harvard Law School, tweeted out Munger Tolles’ employment contract for summer associates.

Skadden, which earlier this year recruited former Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan trade secrets chair John “Jay” Neukom for its office in Palo Alto, California, did not immediately return a request for comment about Fatheree’s departure.