K&L Gates has announced the addition of attorneys Mary Schaerdel Dietz and Roderick (Rick) B. Williams. Both join the Austin office as partners. Dietz, previously at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, is a commercial litigator. Williams, formerally with Vinson & Elkins LLP, joins the intellectual property litigation team.
Baker Botts has added energy lawyer, Kevin Keenan, to its Global Projects group. Keenan was previously at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, in both London and Houston. At Baker Botts, he will remain in Houston as Partner. Keenan acquired his Juris Doctorate at Georgetown University Law Center.
Hunton & Williams has been busy. The firm won over 8 employment lawyers from Akin Gump and is launching an office in San Francisco. Of the 8, four are partners, and four are associates. Laura Franze, joining co-chair of the employment group, will work out of Los Angeles and Dallas. Roland Juarez will also join the Los Angeles office. The San Francisco office will be led by poached partner, Fraser McAlpine, who will also be based out of Houston. Also in San Franisco, Brett Burns joins as partner, and Anna Suh as associate. Justin Smith, Richard Cortez and Jennifer Reith, all associates, will join the Dallas office.
The small litigation law firm of Eimer Stahl Klevorn & Solberg teams up with Houston firm of DeGuerin & Dickson to tackle white-collar criminal cases together with talks of merging in the future. Eimer Stahl’s new Houston office help strengthen the firm’s refining and petrochemical litigation business and will also help to establish their own white-collar criminal practice in Houston. With new back-up, DeGuerin & Dickson will also benefit from the collaboration and likely take on larger white-collar criminal cases.
Haynes and Boone has been honored for its pro bono work and has received the W. Frank Newton Award. The firm worked for 7 years to free Alberto Sifuentes and Jesus Ramirez, two wrongly accused Mexican nationals. The two were convicted of a 1996 murder of a convenience clerk in Texas, despite there being much evidence supporting their innocence. The Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Project, funded by the Government of Mexico, asked Haynes and Boone for their help. They agreed and in 2002, partners Sarah Teachout, Ron Breaux, and Berry McNeil got to work. These attorneys, plus others, would end up putting in 7,493 hours, which in firm terms, is equivalent to about $2.35 million. With the firm’s hard work, these innocent two men were freed after serving 12 years in prison.
While other cities’ legal markets are in a slump, Houston is booming, especially in the field of energy. Why Houston? Houston has strong roots in the energy field and the city’s economy is doing fairly well because of it. Many top firms have recently launched firms in the city, including: McDermott, Will & Emery; DLA Piper; Hunton & Williams; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan; and Greenberg. The competition for Houston Energy attorneys, particularly those with books of business, is fierce. Firms are getting into bidding wars for those seemingly priceless energy attorneys.
Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP is given the honor (for the fifth year) as being one of the top law firms in Texas in the annual listing of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” conducted by Chambers & Partners. Chambers USA guide recognizes 19 of Gardere’s partners were noted as being among the best in their respective fields.
At least some one is getting something out of many businesses losing their shirts, along with millions of workers getting the boot. Bankruptcy attorneys are expecting to have much to work on, especially in bankruptcy hot spots like New York, Delaware, California, and Texas. Not only were there many bankruptcy cases from 2007, the outlook for the future shows this already large number will increase, says many big law firms.
Dewey & LeBoeuf has announced its plans to close three US offices in an attempt to boost its major capital markets practice. The Jacksonville office will close at the end of this year in December. The Hartford office is to close in February and the Austin office will be closing in March 2009. All 48 lawyers amongst the three offices are asked to remain with Dewey & LeBouef and relocate to another of its offices.
Eversheds has announced plans for big changes for its litigation management; they will soon have four department head, instead of the current 10. This strategy will support the overall objective to target commercial clients.
Four female attorneys, Jane Taber, Dawn Estes, Jessica Thorne and Lori CarrFour, are launching their own law firm entitled Taber Estes Thorne & Carr PLLC. All founding four were formerly at the Dallas office of Gardere Wynne Sewell. Together, they bring more than 70 years of big law firm experience in the fields of litigation, labor & employment, and corporate matters.
Andrews Kurth has created subprime practice group consisting of associates of various disciplinary practice groups. The group will advise clients on a number of subprime issues, sich as potential claims and liabilities, regulatory inquiries and strategic plans to respond to anticipated litigation. The subprime group will be led by Arthur Felsenfeld and Peter Goodman in New York; Robert Godlewski, Chris Allen and Tom Perich in Houston; and Bill Compton, David Barbour and Pat Sargent in Dallas.