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BCG News - 5/10/04

5/10/04

Orrick in merger discussions with Swidler Berlin
After failed attempts to merge with Silicon Valley-based law firms Venture Law Group (who instead opted for Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe) and Cooley Godward, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe is looking further east for a possible merger partner. Several sources are reporting that the firm is in talks with Washington, DC-based Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman to create a 900-lawyer firm and shore up Orrick's D.C. operations. Swidler Berlin's 235 attorneys in New York and DC are the main draw for the firm, along with an esteemed insolvency practice. Speaking with Legal Week, one Orrick partner confirmed the discussions, but claimed that the deal is far from complete. Legal Week, 5/6/04

BCG News - 5/10/04

Pillsbury Winthrop life sciences team defects to Mayer Brown
Six attorneys (two partners, two counsels and two associates) that made up the life sciences practice of Pillsbury Winthrop's D.C. office have defected to the D.C. office of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw to practice intellectual property law. Mark Paulson and Paul Sharer, who formerly helmed Pillsbury's D.C. office, will join as partners. One of the counsel attorneys, Susan Brown, formerly served as the head of Pillsbury's trademark practice group. The group will focus on patent and trademark work, specifically in the biotech, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Mayer Brown has also made six other lateral hires in the intellectual property practice nationally in recent months, further emphasizing its commitment to growing this area. Firm Press Release, 4/26/04

SJ Berwin close to finalizing merger with German firm
The partnership of UK-based SJ Berwin unanimously voted in favor of a merger with its longtime German partner firm, Knopf Tulloch & Steininger, after a lengthy tie-up based on the legal implications involved with the annexation of tax advisers. In the United Kingdom, it is not permissible for tax lawyers to join partnerships, but the two firms got the Law Society to approve the merger when it agreed to register those tax advisors as foreign lawyers. The only remaining hurdle will be the approval of the German tax authorities, which are less stringent that the English Law Society. Knopf, Tulloch will bring 21 partners and offices in Frankfurt, Berlin & Munich to SJ Berwin when the merger is finalized. Legal Week, 5/6/04

Dewey Ballantine gains tax group in Frankfurt
A group of tax attorneys from the Frankfurt office of Shearman & Sterling has opted to head over to Dewey Ballantine, aiding that firm in its effort to expand its German presence. Dr. Hanno Berger will join as a partner resident in the firm, along with a team that includes Beatrice Prauschke-Schaefer, Julia Quack, and Konrad Rohde. Dewey Ballantine has also recently been adding to its international tax practice, having recently started a tax group in the UK. Dewey Ballantine has more than 550 attorneys in 13 different offices. Firm Press Release, 5/10/04

Greenberg Traurig expands in Dallas
A bankruptcy group from Patton Boggs LLP has been hired to join the Dallas office of Greenberg Traurig, the firm announced last week. Two shareholders and three associates will join the firm, including Clifton Jessup, Jr., who will head the firm's 8-member Dallas bankruptcy practice. Greenberg Traurig's Dallas office now has 22 attorneys, and is opting for a growth plan that includes hiring attorneys who can serve the firm's diverse client base, which includes local, national and international clients. The additional attorneys joining the ranks are Bruce White, who will join as a shareholder, and Bryan Elwood, Vickie Driver and William Medford, who will join as associates. Firm Press Release, 5/1/04

Two large IP boutiques talk merger
Burns, Doane, Swecker & Mathis and Merchant & Gould are currently involved in talks that would create a large national intellectual property firm with almost 200 attorneys. Burns, Doane, based in Alexandria, has 90 attorneys and Minneapolis-based Merchant & Gould will bring 100 to the merger if it goes through. While not on par with the recent large merger between Wilmer Cutler Pickering and Hale & Dorr in terms of size, the merged firm would be an attractive choice for companies with intellectual property needs that wanted a boutique feel with large firm capabilities. The firms were aware of this, and thus sought out only other IP firms as potential merger partners. Should the deal go through, the merged firm would have nine offices. CalLaw.com, 5/10/04

Fulbright & Jaworski adds six in Dallas
Four attorneys from Jenkins & Gilchrist, one from Vinson & Elkins and one from Strasburger & Price have been hired away by Fulbright & Jaworski to further that firm's plans to grow its Dallas office. The hires, announced in a press release last week, span a wide array of practice areas and levels of experience. Toby Gerber will join the firm as a partner, and formerly served as the national chair of the bankruptcy department at Jenkens & Gilchrist. Mark Platt and John Schwartz will also join the bankruptcy department from Jenkens, both as senior associates. Mark Patterson, also of Jenkens & Gilchrist, will join the real estate practice at Fulbright & Jaworski as counsel. Two associates, Meredith Bjorck and Kenny Meixelsperger, join from Vinsons & Elkin's corporate group and Strasburger & Price's litigation group, respectively. One attorney, Kenneth Edwards, will also be added to the ranks of the Dallas office via the Houston office. Firm Press Release, 5/5/04

Quinn Emanuel quickly find replacements for partner defections
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges was quick to replace two partners who defected to Hogan & Hartson in New York last week. New York Law Journal reported that the firm has found two new partners in Edward DeFranco and Andrew Berdon, only three days after reporting that two partners had left the firm. DeFranco comes to Quinn Emanuel from Fish & Neave and will work in patent litigation. Berdon will be cast in a similar role. He is coming to the firm from Frommer Lawrence & Haug. New York Law Journal, 5/6/04

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