Sports Agent Jim Tanner Leaves Williams: Business of Law

Jim Tanner, a partner at Williams & Connolly LLP who represents basketball players including point guard Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets, is leaving the Washington-based law firm to start a sports and entertainment management business.

Tanner’s clients will follow him to Arlington, Virginia-based Tandem Sports & Entertainment, which opens for business this week, he said in a telephone interview.

“We chose Tandem because collaboration is our hallmark -- collaboration with clients as well as each other,” said Tanner, whose last day at Williams & Connolly was Oct. 11. “Our vision for Tandem is to combine the best elements of an agency with the best elements of a law firm.”

Tanner said changes in the National Basketball Association landscape, from team management to the top job of commissioner, where Adam Silver will replace David Stern in February, persuaded him to leave the firm where he’s worked for 16 years.

Leaving a firm known for its litigators enables Tanner and his colleagues to focus matters outside law and negotiating, such as marketing and communications, he said, adding that Tandem will add new agents.

Besides Lin, Tanner’s clients include former NBA Most Valuable Player Tim Duncan, 10-time All-Star Ray Allen and Shane Battier of the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat, and retired player Grant Hill, who last month was named the co-host of NBA TV’s “Inside Stuff” program.

Senior Partner Robert B. Barnett, a member of Williams & Connolly’s executive committee, said in a telephone interview the firm would continue to represent athletes, coaches and sportscasters in whatever role is required. He praised Tanner as “a first-class lawyer and a first-class person.”

“He is following his dream, and I can only admire that and wish for its success,” Barnett said.

Helen Dooley, who had been counsel at Williams & Connolly, is joining Tanner in his new firm.

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Law Firm Moves

Davis Polk Adds Real Estate Partner in Its New York Office

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has hired Brian S. Lichter, who had been a partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, as a partner in its real estate practice.

The firm said in a statement that the addition will help the firm “meet strong client demand in its growing real estate practice.”

Lichter has extensive experience representing owners, developers and real estate investment trusts, or REITS, in commercial transactions, concentrating in the acquisition and sale of office and retail properties, commercial mortgages, mezzanine and construction financings, debt restructurings and joint ventures.

For Davis Polk, which has only grown infrequently through lateral hires, this is the third such announcement this year. In June, the former head of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Jonathan Leibowitz, joined the firm as a partner in its Washington office. In July, Monica L. Holland left Shearman & Sterling LLP to join the firm’s New York office as a partner in its credit group.

Weil Partner Tabor Leaves Dallas Office to Join Gibson Dunn

R. Jay Tabor, a corporate attorney who focuses on mergers and acquisitions and private equity, is joining the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as a partner.

“Jay will be a tremendous addition to the firm,” Ken Doran, Chairman and Managing Partner of Gibson Dunn, said in a statement. “He is a highly skilled and experienced dealmaker who has a strong reputation in Texas and nationally.”

Tabor had been with Weil since 1999, according to Gibson Dunn’s statement. He has extensive experience in the energy industry, particularly in the midstream and equipment and services sectors.

Tabor is the latest partner to depart the Dallas office Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Last week, S. Scott Parel moved to Sidley Austin LLP in Dallas, joining eight other partners who had recently departed Weil.

Litigator Joins Patterson Belknap from Blank Rome in New York

James V. Masella III joined Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP as a partner. Masella, previously a partner at Blank Rome LLP, focuses on complex securities litigation, white-collar criminal and commercial matters. He represents corporate and individual clients in civil and regulatory matters nationally before trial and appellate courts and regulatory agencies. He regularly counsels clients in disputes arising out of mergers and acquisitions.

Firm Co-Chairman and Managing Partner Robert P. LoBue said in a statement that Masella’s “experience in high-stakes financial litigation and regulatory investigations will further strengthen our Litigation Department, which comprises more than 130 lawyers active in complex commercial litigation across the country.”

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