Kaye Scholer, Grant, Barnes & Thornburg: Business of Law

Kaye Scholer LLP is the latest law firm to announce plans to relocate its back office operations to a cheaper location. The firm said yesterday it will establish an operations center in Tallahassee, Florida, to centralize its support functions in one location. The center will house about 100 Kaye Scholer employees who handle accounting, document services, graphics, technology, library services, docketing, human resources and marketing matters, the firm said.

“Clients continue to pressure law firms to better control costs, which inevitably impacts firm revenues and profitability,” Jeffrey Hunter, Kaye Scholer’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “One way to minimize that impact is by relocating our firmwide support functions to a lower-cost city like Tallahassee, which will reduce overall expenditures while still maintaining the necessary level of services to operate effectively.”

Kaye Scholer picked Tallahassee in part because of its proximity to the state government and universities such as Florida State University and Florida A&M from which finance, technology, library science and graphic design professionals could be attracted to the firm. Most of the affected employees are in the New York office and will be offered the opportunity to relocate, the firm said. Some employees in Washington and Los Angeles will also be affected.

In September Bingham McCutchen LLP announced plans open a service center in Lexington, Kentucky, this year to consolidate its administrative operations.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP established a back office in Nashville, Tennessee, last year.

Kaye Scholer has 450 lawyers in nine U.S. and international offices.

Shareholder Rights Firm Starts Class-Action Practice

Grant & Eisenhofer PA opened a Chicago office to start a consumer class-action practice, headed by Adam Levitt, formerly of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP.

Levitt, who will oversee both the new office and the new practice group, has led cases involving genetically modified foods, automotive defects and deceptive marketing practices. He got a $750 million recovery for rice producers whose crops were contaminated with genetically modified seeds in In re Genetically Modified Rice Litigation. He obtained a $110 million verdict for farmers whose crops were contaminated by genetically modified corn, the firm said.

He currently represents car buyers in a product liability class action against Porsche involving claims arising from allegedly defective parts in the automaker’s Cayenne model (In re Porsche Cars North America Inc., Plastic Coolant Tubes Products Liability Litigation). He also represents landowners and landscapers in a class action against DuPont Co. seeking to recover damages for tree and other foliage death and other harm caused by DuPont’s Imprelis herbicide (In re Imprelis Herbicide, Sales Practice and Products Liability Litigation), the firm said.

“Consumer class actions are a natural outgrowth of our historic practice litigating on behalf of investors,” firm co-founders Stuart Grant and Jay Eisenhofer said in a statement. Adam’s success in representing consumers and business owners in high-stakes cases, such as the genetically modified corn and rice litigation, add an important dimension to our caseload.”

Grant & Eisenhower was founded in 1997, to focus on representation of institutional investors in securities class actions, corporate governance cases and derivative litigation. The Chicago office is the firm’s fourth, in addition to New York, Washington and Wilmington, Delaware.

McDermott Names New Head of Orange County Office

McDermott Will & Emery LLP announced that partner Daniel R. Foster is now partner-in-charge of the firm’s Orange County office. Foster, a partner in the intellectual property litigation practice group, will focus on continued growth for the firm in the area.

Foster, who has been with McDermott since September 2001, is also head of McDermott’s IP litigation practice group for Southern California. He litigates and tries complex IP and other commercial cases, and advises companies on licensing issues and pre-litigation strategy and planning, the firm said.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dan into this important role and know he will bring both strong leadership and tremendous enthusiasm to the job,” Peter J. Sacripanti, co-chairman of McDermott Will & Emery LLP said in a statement.

Foster replaces IP litigator Fay Morisseau who retired from the firm.

McDermott has more than 1,100 lawyers in offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.


Barnes & Thornburg Adds Insurance Recovery Group in Minneapolis

Barnes & Thornburg LLP hired a group of insurance recovery partners from Lindquist & Vennum LLP in Minneapolis.

The attorneys include Thomas C. Mielenhausen, Christopher H. Yetka and Christopher L. Lynch, who all join the policyholder insurance recovery and counseling group. Mielenhausen was head of Lindquist’s insurance recovery group.

“The addition of these attorneys underscores the firm’s commitment to the strategic expansion of its leading practice groups across the country,” Alan Levin, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg, said in a statement. “Their experience in high-profile insurance disputes and recovery litigation will be of great benefit to our colleagues in Minneapolis and nationally.”

With the addition of the three new partners, Barnes & Thornburg’s Minneapolis office, which opened in 2009, has 32 lawyers.

Mielenhausen helps policyholders resolve insurance coverage disputes through negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation in trial and appellate courts. Yetka focuses his practice on commercial litigation, particularly insurance recovery disputes. He serves as vice chairman of the ABA’s Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee and is a program committee member of the Minnesota Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc. Lynch focuses his practice on insurance recovery, representing business policyholders whose claims have been denied or disputed by their insurance companies.

Barnes & Thornburg has 600 attorneys and other legal professionals at 12 U.S. offices.

Freshfields Corporate Partner Moves to Paul Hastings in Paris

Paul Hastings LLP hired David Revcolevschi as a partner in the corporate practice in Paris. Revcolevschi was formerly a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

He specializes in mergers and acquisitions and securities offerings, with an emphasis on international offerings of equity securities. He advises companies on M&A and tender offers, and on stock exchange and securities laws matters, and represents issuers and underwriters in IPOs, privatizations and equity and equity-linked offerings, the firm said.

Paul Hastings has lawyers in 19 offices in the U.S., Asia and Europe.

Carlos Ortiz Joins Edwards Wildman as a Litigation Partner

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP announced that Carlos Ortiz will join the firm as a partner in the firm’s white collar and government enforcement practice group. Ortiz was previously with LeClairRyan, where he was head of the firm’s investigations, compliance and white-collar criminal defense team. He will be based in New York and Madison, New Jersey.

Ortiz advises organizations and individuals on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, allegations of fraud against government agencies and financial institutions, securities and health-care fraud, and high-risk tax controversies, the firm said.

Prior to entering private practice in 2005, Ortiz was at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey where he was deputy and acting chief of the criminal division. He supervised eight criminal litigation units, and was chief of the Government Fraud Unit, the firm said.

Edwards Wildman has 625 lawyers at 15 offices in the U.S, Europe and Asia.


Admiral Plans Deal With U.K. Law Firm Lyons Davidson, Mail Says

Car insurer Admiral Group Plc is considering a deal with solicitors Lyons Davidson under new U.K. rules allowing non-lawyers to own law firms, the Mail on Sunday reports, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of talks. An arrangement between the two, which could include a merger, is imminent, though it’s unclear how any deal would be structured. Admiral and Lyons Davidson declined to comment.

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