Holland Enters Alaska With Patton Team: Business of Law

Holland & Knight LLP is opening an office in Anchorage, Alaska, with a group of former Patton Boggs LLP lawyers who will handle transactional, litigation and regulatory matters.

The office, the firm’s 19th in the U.S., will initially have eight professionals, including partners Walter Featherly, Douglas Serdahely, Kevin Callahan and Teresa Ridle.

“There is a growing demand in Alaska for professionals who have the expertise, resources and capacity necessary to meet the sophisticated and complex legal needs of clients in the region,” Steven Sonberg, Holland & Knight managing partner, said in a statement. “The expansion of the firm’s energy, tribal and government contracts practices furthers our strategic objectives.”

Patton Boggs merged June 1 with Squire Sanders, a 1,300-lawyer global firm to form Squire Patton Boggs.

Featherly, who oversaw Patton Boggs’s Anchorage office and handles government contracting, employment practices, finance and real estate matters among others, will lead Holland & Knight’s Anchorage site as executive partner.

Patton Boggs’s website lists one partner remaining in the Anchorage office, Michael D. White, whose firm biography says he handles civil litigation, employment, labor, administrative and election law matters.


White & Case Adds Clifford Chance Banking Partner in London

White & Case LLP added Martin Forbes, formerly of Clifford Chance LLP, to its U.K. banking practice as a partner in the London office. Forbes focuses on advising private-equity sponsors, their portfolio companies, other borrowers and alternative capital providers, the firm said.

The firm also hired Henrik P. Patel as a partner in its executive-compensation, benefits and employment practice in New York. Patel, who was previously at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, will work closely with the global mergers and acquisitions practice and will advise clients on all executive-compensation and benefits matters, the firm said.

Reed Smith Adds Fives K&L Gates Partners to Litigation Practice

Five K&L Gates LLP partners joined Reed Smith LLP’s U.S. commercial-litigation practice in Chicago. The group is led by David A. Rammelt and includes M. David Short, Caroline C. Plater, Dawn M. Beery and James M. Reiland.

“David and his team bring a diversified litigation practice, a strong national reputation, and a long, winning record of first-chair trial experience,” Jack Nelson, chairman of Reed Smith’s litigation department, said in a statement.

The team of lawyers focuses on complex business litigation, products-liability counseling and litigation, intellectual-property litigation, and sports litigation.

Greenberg Traurig Adds Two Shareholders in Its Houston Office

James R. Leahy, Locke Lord LLP’s former energy-litigation practice group chairman, is joining Greenberg Traurig LLP as chairman of its energy-litigation group in the Houston office.

The firm also added Wayne A. Yaffee, who has real estate finance experience, as a shareholder from Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP.

Duane Morris Adds Trial Partners Thompson, Bradford in Chicago

Duane Morris LLP said Tomas M. Thompson and Mark A. Bradford joined the firm’s trial practice group as partners in Chicago from DLA Piper LLP.


Fees on Unfinished Business Belong to New Law Firms, Court Rules

A federal district judge in San Francisco ruled in a case involving bankrupt law firm Heller Ehrman LLP that profits earned in completing hourly fee matters don’t belong to the bankrupt firm.

In 1984, an intermediate appellate court in California determined in Jewel v. Boxer that profit earned after dissolution belonged to the “old” firm, not to the newly formed firm that completed the work.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer determined on public policy grounds that following Jewel “would discourage third-party firms from hiring former partners of dissolved firms.”

It’s “not in the public interest to make it more difficult for partners leaving a struggling firm to find new employment, or to limit the representation choices a client has available,” Breyer said.

Four law firms that hired Heller Ehrman lawyers were involved in the suit: Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Foley & Lardner LLP, Jones Day and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

The decision “reaffirms what Orrick has argued all along is the fundamental issue: Client matters are property of the client, not of defunct law firms,” Arnold & Porter LLP partner Jonathan Hughes, representing Orrick, said in a statement.

Whether there is liability for completing unfinished business is currently on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York involving two failed firms, Thelen LLP and Coudert Brothers LLP. Two different federal district judges there reached opposite conclusions, one following Jewel and one not.

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