Akerman Opens in Chicago With 7 Lawyers: Business of Law

Akerman LLP opened an office in Chicago, the firm’s 20th U.S. location, with a team of seven lawyers from Ulmer & Berne LLP in the commercial and intellectual-property litigation practices.

The new lawyers include Scott Meyers, who will be Akerman’s Chicago office managing partner. Meyers concentrates his complex commercial litigation practice in the financial services and securities sectors, with an emphasis on hedge funds, investment advisers and money managers.

Michael Switzer is also joining the firm and will be co-chairman of Akerman’s intellectual-property practice group, along with partner Mark Passler, who is based in the West Palm Beach, Florida, office.

Also joining Akerman’s Chicago office from Ulmer & Berne as partners are IP lawyers Mark Anderson, Stacy Baim and Brian Bianco.

Akerman partner Karen Kondell, who focuses on real estate transactions, will be a co-resident in the firm’s Chicago and Miami offices.

Partner Moves Round-up

Squire Sanders, BakerHostetler, Holland: Lateral Partners

Squire Sanders LLP added U.K. employment lawyer Fraser Younson in the London office as a partner in the global labor and employment practice. Younson was formerly head of the employment incentives and pensions group at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

Dennis Russo, former co-chairman of Herrick Feinstein LLP’s hospitality practice, joined Baker & Hostetler LLP, where he will head the New York real estate group. Russo recently advised Sherwood Equities Inc. on the $167 million sale of a Hudson Yards development site in New York, the firm said.

Russo is joining with two other attorneys from Herrick, including partner Gina Mavica, who represents lenders, borrowers, sellers, purchasers and investors in acquisitions, dispositions and financings.

Holland & Knight LLP said corporate finance partner Guillermo Uribe Lara joined the Mexico City office along with his team, which includes three associates. The attorneys previously practiced at DLA Piper LLP.

Robin Mizrahi, who specializes in project finance, energy and infrastructure, particularly in emerging markets, joined Baker Botts LLP as a partner in London. Mizrahi, formerly of Chadbourne & Parke LLP, represented Sithe Energies and Industrial Promotion Services in the development and $682 million debt financing of a hydropower project in Uganda, the firm said.

Littler Mendelson PC added labor and employment attorney Douglas R. Christensen in its Minneapolis office. Christensen was a past chairman of Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s national labor and employment law practice group.

Foley & Lardner LLP announced that Jami Gekas, previously of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, joined the firm’s intellectual property litigation practice in the Chicago office.


Kirkland, Latham Advise on $3.2 Billion Carlyle Deal

Kirkland & Ellis LLP advised Carlyle Group LP, the world’s second-biggest manager of alternative assets such as private-equity funds and real estate, on its agreement to buy the industrial-packaging business of Illinois Tool Works Inc. for $3.2 billion. Latham & Watkins LLP advised Illinois Tool.

The Kirkland team was led by corporate partners William Sorabella and Christopher Torrente and included partner Daniel Michaels and debt finance partner Jason Kanner.

Latham’s deal team was led by Chicago corporate partners Bradley Faris and Timothy FitzSimons. Additional partners on the deal included Diana Doyle, tax; Robin Struve, benefits; and Jeffrey Tochner, intellectual property and information technology.

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Law Firm Revenue Rises 2.2%, Consultant’s Survey Shows

Law firm gross revenue rose 2.2 percent last year, according to a Wells Fargo Private Bank legal survey, a number that varied widely as some firms posted increases of as much as a 20 percent and others had declines of as much as 21 percent.

The survey based on 115 firms, 65 of them among the 100 wealthiest in the U.S., indicated that rising expenses affected revenue, Jeff Grossman, senior director of banking for Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group, said in an interview.

“The firms that are successful tend to be the best at what they do, regardless at what they do, and are managing the margins and expenses,” Grossman said.

A survey by Citi Private Bank released last week found similar results, with gross revenue growth at 2.5 percent. That survey questioned 180 firms, including 77 of the 100 wealthiest.

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