Law Firm Insider: 2/22/11

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DLA Piper was back in the news this week with a two-part announcement of a new office in Miami and a burgeoning presence in Venezuela. The firm, which recently made headlines for a planned merger with Australian partner DLA Phillips Fox, will open the Miami office March 1.

In addition, DLA Piper has struck up an agreement with global firm InterJuris Abogados SC to open an office in Caracas, Venezuela, that will operate as DLA InterJuris Abogados. The founders of InterJuris Abogados, Juan Jose Delgado and Maria Cecilia Rachadell, will serve as foreign legal consultants in the DLA Piper Miami office, along with new hires Pedro J. Martinez-Fraga and C. Ryan Reetz. All four attorneys once worked together at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.

In global appointment news, Niping Wu has been named International Counsel in the Shanghai office of Debevoise & Plimpton. Wu, a recognized private equity lawyer in Asia, comes to her new position from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's Beijing office, and will lead transactional matters for private equity firms, Asian companies, and new investors in the Shanghai region.

The North American Private Equity practice of Mayer Brown has a new co-leader, the firm has announced. Andrew Hulsh, formerly at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, is now a Corporate and Securities partner in Mayer Brown's New York office and a co-leader of the group.

In another management appointment, Holland & Knight recently named Mike Chapman General Counsel of the firm. Chapman, a commercial trial partner in Holland & Knight's Tampa office, has served on the firm's Directors Committee for five years and will now join the senior management team.

Following a year as General Counsel to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Gary J. Cohen has re-joined Sidley Austin as a corporate attorney in Los Angeles, the firm has announced. The committee to which Cohen was appointed was created by the Congressional Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 and investigated the causes of the U.S. financial crisis.

Finally, the Howrey exodus continued this week, with official announcements coming from several firms. Among the top firms to pick up Howrey attorneys are Hogan Lovells, which added five Intellectual Property litigation partners including K.T. "Sunny" Cherian and Scott Wales to its San Francisco office, and Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver, a firm that welcomed construction lawyers Barbara G. Werther and Stephen D. Palley to its Washington, D.C. office.