Quarles & Brady, Mayer Brown, Skadden: Business of Law

Kimberly Leach Johnson will take the helm of Quarles & Brady LLP on Oct. 1, becoming the firm’s first chairwoman.

“There are many outstanding partners at Quarles who could lead us forward, but Kim is a perfect reflection of the firm’s tradition of practice excellence and its progressive vision,” Chairman John W. Daniels Jr., who will become chairman emeritus, said in a statement. “She is an exceptional attorney and a collaborative, client-centric, business-minded leader whose commitment is unsurpassed.”

Johnson, a trusts-and-estates partner, was most recently head of the firm’s finance committee and managing partner of the firm’s Naples and Tampa, Florida, offices.

“We’re in the process of visiting our strategic plan now,” she said in a phone interview. “We’ll finish the plan at the end of January and we will roll it out to the partners in March.”

Daniels, who has been chairman since 2007, will focus on strategic counseling to business clients, with particular emphasis on financial services, health-care and mid-market growth entities. Under his leadership, the firm transformed from an individually responsible attorney model to a collaborative organization.

Fredrick G. Lautz, a mergers-and-acquisitions and corporate finance/securities partner, was re-appointed managing partner.

Johnson joins a handful of women at the top of the country’s wealthiest law firms, including long-standing Goodwin Procter LLP Chairman Regina Pisa and, more recently, Kim Koopersmith of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, who was named chairperson last October. Other prominent women leading firms include Valerie Ford Jacob of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and Candace K. Beinecke of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.

Elizabeth Anne Tursi, a founder of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum, said that while the number of women at the top is hard to pinpoint because of turnover, it remains lower than it should be.

“We’re making progress but it’s a slow progress,” she said.

Johnson credited Quarles & Brady’s culture in part with her promotion, noting that it was previously led by Daniels, who is black. “The firm has a history of being very inclusive even before it was popular.”

Quarles & Brady has about 400 attorneys in eight U.S. offices in the South, Southwest, Midwest and Washington, as well as in Shanghai.

Deals

Mayer Brown, Skadden on Packaging’s $1.27 Billion Boise Deal

Mayer Brown LLP is advising Packaging Corp. of America, the fourth-largest U.S. producer of corrugated shipping boxes, which agreed to buy Boise (BZ) Inc. for about $1.27 billion to boost capacity. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is Boise’s legal adviser.

Mayer Brown’s legal team was led by corporate and securities partners Andrew Noreuil, Paul Crimmins and John Sagan. The Skadden team includes partners Margaret Brown, M&A, and Cliff Gross, tax.

Packaging Corp. will pay $12.55 for each Boise share, the companies said yesterday in a statement, 26 percent more than Boise’s Sept. 13 closing price. The deal includes $714 million of Boise’s debt and will close in the fourth quarter, they said.

The takeover will increase Lake Forest, Illinois-based Packaging Corp.’s containerboard production capacity 42 percent to 3.7 million tons a year and boost the company’s presence in the Pacific Northwest, the companies said.

The combined companies generated $5.5 billion in sales and $879 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization last year, according to the statement.

Boise, based in the Idaho city of the same name, also makes newsprint and office paper and owns mills, plants and distribution centers in North America and Europe.

Moves

Two Dentons Lawyers Join Crowell & Moring in New York

Crowell & Moring LLP added to its corporate group and commercial real estate practice with two new partners in New York from Dentons LLP.

Sahra Dalfen joins the firm’s corporate finance and securities practice, while Jody E. Saltzman joins the commercial real estate practice.

“Their broad and deep knowledge in their respective areas, coupled with their strong contacts in this market, will further support our clients and expand our client base, particularly in our real estate and corporate practices,” Joseph A. Adams, head of the firm’s New York office and a partner in the corporate group, said in a statement.

Dalfen’s corporate practice includes M&A and securities, with a focus on representing companies in domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, as well as issuers and investors in securities offerings and financings. She also advises domestic and foreign clients on U.S. corporate governance issues and securities-law compliance matters.

Saltzman has experience negotiating commercial leases nationwide on behalf of tenants. She also represents private clients and institutional clients on property acquisitions and transfers, financing transactions and title related matters. Saltzman also handles commercial finance matters dealing with trade finance, including factoring, receivables financing and other lending arrangements.

Crowell & Moring has about 500 lawyers at offices in the U.S., London and Brussels.

Stroock Hires Ex-SEC Private Funds Official Tram Nguyen

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP announced that Tram N. Nguyen has joined the firm as a partner in the private funds practice group in Washington after leaving the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nguyen, the former chief of the private-funds branch of the SEC’s division of investment management, will work with Robert E. Plaze in the firm’s private funds group. Plaze, before starting the practice group, was the deputy director of the SEC’s division of investment management.

While at the SEC, Nguyen led rulemaking and initiatives related to private fund advisers, the firm said.

“Tram was responsible for some of the most important rulemaking relating to private funds to come out of the SEC,” Stuart H. Coleman, Stroock’s co-managing partner and chairman of its investment-management practice group, said in a statement. “Her insight into the current regulatory climate and experience in both private practice and government makes her a tremendous addition to our firm overall, and particularly to our expanding presence in Washington.”

Stroock has more than 750 employees at offices in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington.

King & Spalding Brings in Ex-Justice Department Tax Litigator

King & Spalding LLP added Nathan E. Clukey as a partner in the tax practice in Washington. Clukey was a trial lawyer in the tax division of the U.S. Justice Department from 2008 until this month.

At the Justice Department, Clukey tried tax cases in federal district courts, serving as lead counsel in jury and bench trials, the firm said in a statement.

“Nathan’s litigation experience and technical knowledge of the tax law give him a unique ability to serve clients in complex and demanding tax controversy contexts,” Hap Shashy, leader of the firm’s tax practice, said in the statement.

King & Spalding has about 800 lawyers at 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in Brooklyn, New York, at eamon2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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