43 and Counting as Lateral Moves Start to Mount: Business of Law

The old adage of a “new year, a new beginning” holds true for many lawyers.

Yesterday, 23 law firms announced they had hired a total of 43 new lawyers. Most of the changes occurred in the U.S., with the exception of Greenberg Traurig LLP, which said it was opening an office in Tokyo with one lawyer from DLA Piper LLP and two from White & Case LLP.

There was no pattern, and the only certainty is that these are first of what is likely to be a spate of individual, as well as group, lateral moves.

Three attorneys with longstanding experience in bankruptcies, restructurings and liquidations are joining Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in its Washington office. H. Jason Gold, Valerie Morrison, and Dylan Trache previously were partners at Wiley Rein LLP, which in November announced it was closing its bankruptcy practice.

White & Case has hired Michael Lebovitz and Stephen Weerts for its global tax practice as partners in its Los Angeles office. The two lawyers, who were previously partners at DLA Piper, will work with the firm’s global mergers and acquisitions practice.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has added a state and local tax practice group to its nationwide tax practice. Partner Roburt Waldow joins from Jones Day in Orange County, California, while special counsel Greg Turner, who was most recently a vice president and senior tax counsel at the Council on State Taxation, will be based in Sacramento.

Jeff Hoffman and Susan Wolfe have joined the white-collar defense and investigations group of Blank Rome LLP in New York. Hoffman joined as a partner, Wolfe as of counsel. They were previously partners at Hoffman & Pollok.

Singular Moves

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP hired William Rooklidge for its Orange County, California, office as a partner. Rooklidge, who was previously a partner with Jones Day, specializes in intellectual property law with a focus on patent litigation.

Kate C. Lowenhar-Fisher has joined the Las Vegas office of Dickinson Wright PLLC as a member. She is a gaming attorney who advises on regulatory issues in connection with mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, reorganizations and financings and was previously a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Faber Schreck.

Chicago-based Freeborn & Peters LLP announced that Vito M. Pacione has joined the firm as a partner in its real estate practice group. He was previously a real estate lawyer at Jenner & Block LLP.

Lawyers for Lawyers

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP has hired Janis Meyer for its New York office as a partner in its “lawyers for the profession” practice group. Meyer, who focuses on professional responsibility, ethics, risk management and other matters, was previously a partner and general counsel at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. She oversaw the bankruptcy and wind-down of the now-defunct firm.

Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP has added Thomas B. Mason as a partner. Mason, who was previously a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, also counsels attorneys on professional responsibility, malpractice and ethics issues. In addition, he advises government officials and others on government ethics issues.

New Offices

Greenberg Traurig announced the opening of an office in Tokyo, the firm’s third in the region, in addition to its offices in Shanghai and Seoul. The new office will be operated by Greenberg Traurig Horitsu Jimusho, an affiliate of Greenberg Traurig P.A. and Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Koji Ishikawa, managing shareholder of the new office, joins from DLA Piper, and shareholders Yuji Ogiwara and Koichiro Ohashi, co-chairs of the firmwide Japan Practice, join from White & Case LLP.

In the Midwest, Ogletree Deakins, which specializes in labor and employment law, said it was opening of an office in Milwaukee with nine lawyers -- five shareholders and four associates -- from Krukowski & Costello, S.C. Three -- Tim Costello, Kevin Kinney and Robert Bartel -- were shareholders at their previous firm, while two -- Timothy Kamin and Brian Radloff –- were associates.

The only thing lacking yesterday: an announcement of a law firm merger. Of course, the year has just begun.

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