McDermott Will & Emery has hired William “Bill” Donovan Jr., who most recently served the head of Cooley’s Los Angeles litigation practice, to bolster its West Coast class action and complex commercial litigation capabilities.
Donovan officially joined McDermott’s litigation practice group in Los Angeles on Friday. Before moving over to Cooley in 2014, Donovan spent nearly 12 years at DLA Piper’s Los Angeles office.
“McDermott offers me a unique opportunity to reunite with several dozen former colleagues of mine at DLA,” Donovan said. “I think it is also a tremendous platform. But when you combine the opportunity to essentially come home with many partners who I have spent over a decade at DLA, I thought it was a tremendous opportunity.”
Earlier in the year, McDermott announced in an internal memorandum that it had hired a $100 million group of lawyers from DLA Piper. Since then, the Chicago-based firm has hired away a roughly 50-lawyer group from DLA Piper, including its Chicago intellectual property head and trademark partner Christina “Tina” Martini. DLA Piper did return the favor by taking McDermott’s former trade secrets head, Eric Hagen, as a partner in Los Angeles.
Cooley representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment on Donovan’s departure.
Donovan is joining several other recent additions at McDermott’s Los Angeles office, including litigation partner Mike Piazza and employment partners Maria Rodriguez and Michelle Strowhiro. All of them were previously at DLA Piper. McDermott opened its Los Angeles office in February 1987, and it now has 63 lawyers. The Chicago-based firm also opened a new San Franciso office this year after the hires from DLA Piper.
“Clients trust McDermott to handle ‘bet-the-company litigation’ matters, and this is exactly what Bill is known for,” said a statement from Ira Coleman, chairman of McDermott. “When everything is on the line, our goal is to be that trusted partner for our clients—and that’s what Bill has excelled at throughout his career. Bill also joins us at an exciting time for our growing West Coast team, and we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome him to the family.”
Donovan represents a wide range of clients in all stages of litigation, including trials, appeals and arbitration. He is experienced in handling high-profile civil matters and defending accounting firms.
“McDermott does a substantial amount of professional liability and accounting defense works in particular, that opportunity was not available to me at Cooley,” Donovan said.
Donovan started out his legal career in Washington, D.C., as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in 1995. He then moved to work in-house for MCI Communications Corp. in 1998, where he defended the American telecommunications company in class actions and other complex litigation matters. Donovan joined DLA Piper’s Los Angeles office in 2002.
“Bill’s legal prowess both inside and outside the courtroom will benefit clients seeking strategic guidance at every step of the litigation process,” added David S. Rosenbloom, global head of the firm’s litigation practice group. “His arrival enhances the services we offer to companies facing their biggest commercial cases not only on the West Coast but across the firm’s global platform.”