Litigation boutique spins off from McKool Smith: A 13-attorney group  spun off of McKool Smith in October to create a litigation boutique, Reichman Jorgensen, with offices in Silicon Valley, Atlanta, and New York. The seven-partner boutique, led by Courtland Reichman and Sarah Jorgensen, focuses on complex commercial litigation and patent cases.
Cooley litigators form Southern California firm: A pair of former Cooley litigators formed a new firm in Southern California called Koning Zollar. Andrew “Drew” Koning and Blake Zollar, two ex-senior associates at Cooley in San Diego, officially launched their own litigation boutique in August in nearby Encinitas. The two-partner firm handles complex commercial, employment and intellectual property disputes.
IP boutique quits Squire Patton Boggs: A little more than a year after  folding his Palo Alto, California-based intellectual property boutique into Squire Patton Boggs, partner Ronald Fernando reconstituted his old shop with several current and former colleagues. Fernando's entire team, including former senior associates William “Bill” Higley and Jacob Smith, as well as associate Prateek Bhatnagar, all left Squire Patton Boggs and returned to a reborn Fernando & Partners in late April 2018.
Holland & Knight alums' environmental boutique: Holland & Knight land use partner Amanda Monchamp and former firm associate Joanna "Joey" Meldrum left Big Law in May to launch a new land use and environmental law boutique in San Francisco, called Monchamp Meldrum.
A trio of litigators leave Keker: Threef litigators, Michael Kwun, Asim Bhansali and Kate Lazarus, left high-profile litigation boutique Keker, Van Nest & Peters in May to launch their own firm in San Francisco called Kwun Bhansali Lazarus. Bhansali was a partner at Keker Van Nest, Kwun of counsel at the firm and Lazarus an associate.


The latest Oakland boutique: A pair of former Big Law partners and in-house counsel for SolarCity and Tesla, W. Fred Norton and Gabrielle "Bree" Hann,  set up their own firm in a former warehouse in Oakland this April. Before their in-house roles, Norton spent 12 years at Boies Schiller Flexner, while Hann was at Bingham McCutchen for over eight years.
Orrick Partner Joins SF Boutique: Litigation and antitrust partner David Goldstein left Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in April 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.

In 2018, a stream of California-based partners left behind their practices at Am Law 200 firms to start their own shops. Here’s a roundup of Big Law departures in 2018.