The dissolution this month of Sedgwick, an insurance-focused Am Law 200 firm based in San Francisco that found itself crippled from mounting partner defections in 2017, has created an alumni network throughout Big Law.
Sedgwick was home to many longtime partners and staffers, including Gregory Read in San Francisco, where he joined the firm in 1971. In December, Read sat down for a video interview with The Recorder about his tiny Christmas train town.
While Sedgwick became the latest large firm to avoid bankruptcy in its path toward dissolution, the debate will continue about what killed the storied 85-year-old shop. The American Lawyer reported in late November on Sedgwick’s decision to close its doors, a decision based in part on the exodus of large groups of partners for other firms.
On the now-defunct firm’s website, Sedgwick listed the contact information for its remaining partners, some of whom are setting up their own shops or joining firms such as Becker, Buchalter, King & Spalding and California’s Walsworth in one-off moves. Irvine, California-based Salamirad, Morrow, Timpane & Dunn has hired Marilyn Klinger, the first woman to serve on Sedgwick’s executive committee, to serve as managing partner of its Los Angeles office.
More information can be found below on where many of Sedgwick’s lawyers have landed since the firm announced more than a month ago that it would shutter it operations, including a back office operations center in Kansas City, Missouri.
Akerman: The Florida-based firm, which has expanded rapidly in recent years, has hired Sedgwick partners Kanika Corley and Caroline Mankey in Los Angeles.
Clyde & Co: A British firm that had unsuccessful tie-up talks with Sedgwick that ended in the fall, Clyde & Co was among the first to scoop up partners from the firm following its late November announcement disbanding its operations. By mid-December, Clyde & Co confirmed plans to take on up to 80 lawyers and staffers from Sedgwick’s five offices in California.
Duane Morris: The firm followed up its early December recruitment of a 10-lawyer Sedgwick employment group by bringing on litigation partners Michael Fox and Robert Kum in San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively.
Goldberg Segalla: The Buffalo, New York-based firm, which is currently battling a breakaway group of former partners in court, has opened first West Coast office after hiring Sedgwick’s ex-cybersecurity and privacy practice chair John Stephens.
Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani: Andrew Port, the former co-chair of Sedgwick’s maritime practice, fled to Gordon Rees in December along with partners James Marissen, Cheryl Morris and James Tamulski, partner-turned-counsel Eric Danoff and senior counsel Christopher Farnsworth and James Kuhne. The group joined new Gordon Rees securities co-chair Kendra Canape, who left Sedgwick in November.
Shook, Hardy & Bacon: Michael Healy, Sedgwick’s leader since early 2015, is headed to Shook Hardy’s business and products liability litigation group in San Francisco, along with of counsel Wayne Wolff and an associate.
Steptoe & Johnson: A seven-lawyer commercial and class action litigation team led by Sedgwick partner Stephanie Sheridan in San Francisco, where she chaired her former firm’s retail and fashion industry practice, has joined Steptoe & Johnson in the Bay Area and Chicago.
Tanenbaum Keale: The Newark, New Jersey-based litigation boutique, formed in early 2017 by Sedgwick alums, including former firm chair Michael Tanenbuam, set up shop in Seattle last month after bringing on Sedgwick’s former local managing partner Christopher Marks and several other lawyers.
U.K./London: British firms such as RPC, DAC Beachcroft and CMS have swooped in to scoop up what remained of Sedgwick’s sole outpost overseas. Edward Smerdon, Sedgwick’s former London managing partner, has yet to join a new firm.