Littler Mendelson. Littler Mendelson offices in Portland, Maine. (Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

Labor and employment giant Littler Mendelson has brought on Crowell & Moring partner Mark Romeo as a shareholder in its Irvine office.

Romeo, who practiced at Littler as an associate in his early career, returned to the San Francisco-headquartered firm Monday. His practice focuses on restrictive covenants, trade secrets and unfair competition litigation. Romeo said he was attracted to the broader reach of Littler’s platform.

“Having a truly national platform and offices in many different jurisdictions in the United States, it is a significant reason for me to come back and rejoin Littler,” he said. He also noted that the firm has handled many restrictive covenant and trade secret cases, particularly in the last 18 months.

Romeo has been practicing in Southern California for over two decades. He first joined Littler as an associate in 1997 and left to work with now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. In 2003, he moved again to the Costa Mesa office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where he served as the co-head of the firm’s trade secrets practice. Romeo was lured to Crowell & Moring in 2007.

“Because I was an attorney here for about five years in the mid-1990s, I maintained a lot of friendship with the folks here over the years, and it seems to make sense to me to come back,” Romeo said.

According to Romeo, Littler’s Irvine office has about 30 attorneys. The firm, which ranked 64th on the Am Law 100 list this year, saw its gross revenue grow to $584.2 million in 2018, an increase of 8.6% from the prior year.

“Mark is a widely respected litigator who has successfully represented clients in a range of industries and in jurisdictions across the U.S.,” Jon Miller, Irvine office managing shareholder, said in a statement.

Miller added, “His deep familiarity with trade secrets, restrictive covenants and unfair competition laws—as well as his experience representing clients in disputes involving incentive compensation, stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock and other high-stakes employment law matters—will provide great value to our clients facing an increasingly complex regulatory landscape, particularly here in California.”

In a statement addressing Romeo’s departure, Kris Meade, chairman of Crowell & Moring’s labor and employment practice, said, “Mark is an excellent lawyer and we wish him well in his new role.”