Law Firm Insider: 3/15/11

Get the latest news on what's happening in the Best Law Firms.


The other shoe finally dropped for Howrey, which announced it would be shuttering March 15. There was a flurry of corresponding moves as partners and associates tried to find a safe landing spot. Many of Howrey's intellectual property partners made out well, with four lawyers moving to Perkins Coie in Palo Alto, Calif, while Henry Petri and Janelle Waack moved to Novak Druce & Quigg. Dickstein Shapiro added six patent litigation lawyers, including Krista Carter from Howrey. A 13-lawyer team, including three partners, are headed to Arnold & Porter's offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

 Other Howrey partners also found new work. Four antitrust partners are headed to Covington & Burling, while financial litigator Kostas Katsiris has joined Venable. A handful of lawyers from the firm's Houston office are still expected to join Winston & Strawn, while Howrey vice chairman Sean Boland is expected to join Baker Botts, which has already taken on several Howrey partners. Dewey & LeBoeuf has added a three-partner Howrey global antitrust team, in addition to last week's hiring of Roxann Henry.

Despite Howrey's failure, it's not all bad news for the industry. American Lawyer is reporting that profits among the top 100 law firms were up in 2010, although much of the profitability was spurred by expense cuts and layoffs. One firm doing particularly well is Kirkland & Ellis, whose profits per partner topped $3 million, according to the publication.

With NFL owners and the NFL Players Asssociation unable to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, they'll end up deciding it in court. The NFL has hired two high-profile lawyers to fight an antitrust suit leveled by the players—David Boies, managing partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, and former Soliciter General Paul Clement, a partner at King & Spalding. The case is expected to be heard by Judge David Doty, who has been ruled against the owners in the past. Outside counsel representing the players union include Jeffrey Kessler and David Feher, partners at Dewey & LeBoeuf and Weil, Gotshal & Manges partners James Quinn and Bruce Meyer.

Two former lawmakers are moving back into law—longtime Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has started his own law firm, the Wall Street Journal reports. Specter worked at Dechert before running successfully for the Senate in 1980. Specter is famous for switching to the Democratic Party in 2009; he lost in the primary last year. Ron Klein, a two-term Democratic congressman from Florida, is joining Holland & Knight's public policy and regulation group.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe added Sean Patrick Maloney to its global finance practice in New York. Maloney was deputy secretary to the governor of New York under Eliott Spitzer and David Paterson before joining Kirkland & Ellis in 2009.

Private equity lawyer Peter Baldwin, formerly of Jones Day, is joining Ropes & Gray in London.

Former U.S. attorney and Davis Polk litigator Hazard Gillespie died last week, he was 100.

According to the Boston Business Journal, Latham & Watkins is set to announce its new Boston office any day now.

Holland & Hart made a big snag in Salt Lake City, making a nine-partner acquisition across multiple practice arease from Holme, Roberts & Owen. Lawyers will join the firm's commercial litigation, tax, and energy, environment, and natural resources groups.

Allen & Overy boosted its German banking practice with the addition of Frank Herring from Norton Rose, which has been making some acquisitions of its own the past few weeks.

Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker added mergers and acquisitions lawyer Eric Greenberg, formerly of Covington & Burling, to its Washington, D.C. office.

Starting April 1, Vizards Wyeth's 25-lawyer insurance division will be moving over to Weightmans. Thirteen partners will be included in the move.

Crowell & Moring has tapped Laurent Ruessmann to head the firm's European trade practice. Ruessmann had been with Sidley Austin, where he founded the firm's Brussels office, since 2003.

Watson, Farley & Williams launched a tax practice in its Madrid office after hiring Luis Soto from PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Some international trouble for DLA Piper—after last week's merger with its Australian branch, DLA Phillips Fox has lost nine partners to Thomsons Lawyers. Meanwhile, the firm's Houston office picked up a partner for its corporate and securities group -- Frank Wu will join the firm from Winstead PC.

The man behind Linklaters' growth has joined SJ Berwin in London as a nonexecutive director. Revenue increased at Linklaters by 57 percent while Tony Angel was in charge of the firm from 1998-2007, according to the American Lawyer.

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