Law Firm Insider: 4/12/11

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

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With Congress making a last-minute budget deal, the federal government avoided a shutdown. But in case you were wondering, the federal court system planned to continue operating with fees it collects. The non-appropriated fees would have kept the courts open for two weeks—after that, only essential activities would have continued.

Led by AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile, the mergers and acquisitions market was up throughout the first quarter, and experts are predicting the rest of the year will be a good one for dealmaking.

After heavy lateral losses, Austin-based Clark, Thomas & Winters has decided to shut down. The firm, founded in 1938, once had more than 200 lawyers, but has lost more than 50 lawyers over the past two months.

Two former Howrey lawyers have sued the company for failing to pay WARN Act wages after the firm closed March 31. The act requires employers to notify employees 60 days (and to pay them during this period) before they plan to shut down.

In other Howrey news,five more former Howrey lawyers found new work last week, with five construction attorneys joining Ober|Kaler in its Washington, D.C. office.

A team of six intellectual property litigation partners joined Latham & Watkins in San Francisco and Menlo Park, Calif. The lawyers come from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and specialize in cases involving information technology, pharmaceutical, and semiconductor companies. Latham also added a partner in Moscow, hiring Mikhail Turetsky from Baker & McKenzie.

DLA Piper continued its hiring spree last week, hiring three labor and employment litigation partners from Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. The team includes Michael Sheehan, who will become chair of the firm's U.S. labor and employment practice. Internationally, Sean Angle, who founded Reed Smith's Dubai office, will lead DLA Piper's finance and projects team across the Middle East.

Six former partners at K&L Gates have decided to set up their own shop. Pacifica Law Group will focus on all types of law, but the firm plans to represent public and private clients in the Pacific Northwest only.

Jones Day hired former Kirkland & Ellis partner Elli Leibenstein, a litigation attorney, to work in its Chicago office.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe suffered an eight-partner loss last week—four litigation partners moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and another four moved to a newly-formed Dechert office in Los Angeles.

Two law firm election results to report this week: Davis Polk & Wardwell elected Thomas Reid as its new managing partner. Reid, who has spent three years on the firm's management committee, will replace John Ettinger. Foley & Lardner announced Jay Rothman would become the firm's chairman and CEO effective June 1.

King & Spalding hired former Bracewell & Giuliani partner Martin Hunt to work in its corporate practice in London.

Linklaters announced they would be promoting 18 lawyers to partner, effective May 1. Only six of the 18 are based in London, where the firm is headquartered.

Finally, an award to report this week—Covington & Burling's Rob Fram and Bob Haslam were named top intellectual property litigators in California by the San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Does your firm have a recent notable achievement, new hires, or an upcoming special event? E-mail us at lawfirminsider@usnews.com.

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