National labor and employment firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart has hired an all-female, five-lawyer team from FordHarrison in Los Angeles led by new equity partner Lyne Richardson, while Troutman Sanders has brought on San Diego-based partner Mark Payne, a former chair of the labor and employment practice at Rutan & Tucker.
Richardson joined Ogletree Deakins as an equity shareholder on Sept. 26. Prior to that, she had spent nearly 20 years at FordHarrison, where she served as managing partner of the labor law-focused firm’s Los Angeles office and as co-leader of its national employment practice and liability insurance group.
The Ogletree Deakins addition, who focuses her practice on employment law, litigation and client counseling, said she was impressed with the management of her new firm.
“It is truly a family-like environment, where clients and employees are the top priorities,” said Richardson, who will be joined at Ogletree Deakins by former FordHarrison colleagues Glendy Lau and Brittney Turner, who will serve as counsel at their new firm, and of counsel Catherine Hazany and Julianne Pinter.
“They made a really strong commitment to my group to bring me over, and they have a strong commitment in general to female attorneys,” Richardson said. “It is part of the culture that they are very diverse and value female attorneys.”
Ogletree Deakins has vowed to take steps to address diversity and inclusion issues in the wake of a $300 million gender bias suit filed against the firm earlier this year by several former partners, including ex-equity partner Tracy Warren. During the past few months, several female partners have left Ogletree Deakins, with some criticizing the firm for its compensation policies.
Richardson is the third female partner and the second with equity status hired by Ogletree Deakins in California in the last year, the firm said.
“We’ve known Lyne for quite some time and are very familiar with her client service mindset,” said a statement from Ogletree Deakins managing partner C. Matthew Keen. “We are thrilled that our platform is attractive to her and that she is bringing her group of talented attorneys to [the firm].“
With the addition of Richardson’s team, Ogletree Deakins’ Los Angles office will have a total of 46 lawyers. The firm wasn’t alone this week in bulking up its operations in Southern California.
Troutman Sanders announced on Sept. 27 that it had hired Payne for its labor and employment practice in Orange County.
Payne, who has spent the past 16 years at Costa Mesa, California-based Rutan & Tucker, has 26 years of experience advising and defending employers. Troutman Sanders said he is the third partner to join the firm’s office this year in Irvine, California, coming on the heels of commercial litigator Eudeen Chang, who came aboard in April from Greenberg Traurig, and Steven Allison, an insurance and reinsurance litigator who joined in July from Crowell & Moring.
“Joining Troutman Sanders presents a terrific opportunity to serve the employment law needs of its many clients with operations in California,” said Payne in prepared remarks. “The firm’s collaborative and collegial culture appealed to me, and its commitment to superior service aligns with how I treat my clients and what I want for them.”
Payne represents employers across a wide range of industries on labor and employment matters, with a particular emphasis on California operators. Before joining Rutan & Tucker in 2001, he practiced labor and employment law for eight years at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
“California presents unique and complex issues for employers. Mark’s extensive experience in helping employers of all sizes navigate these issues on the front-end, or in connection with employment-related disputes in state and federal courts, will benefit our clients in and beyond California,” said a statement from Charles “Tony” Jones, the Washington, D.C.-based chair of the firm’s specialized litigation department.
Troutman Sanders said it now has nearly 100 lawyers practicing on the West Coast, where the firm has offices in Irvine, San Diego and San Francisco.