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    November 6, 2008  
AU Law;

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The demise of Heller held a silver lining for firms that picked up high-value practices, and few did better than Orrick, landing 30 partners and a roughly equal number of associates. We stopped in for a chat with the DC imports and the guy who helped reel them in.


DC managing partner and executive committee member Cam Cowan tells us the groundwork was laid by a mid-September call from former Heller chairman Bob Rosenfeld to Orrick’s Mark Levy, the longest-serving member of Orrick’s executive committee, asking about Orrick’s interest in taking on a large group. Helped along by the trust between the two leaders (friends going back to Harvard Law days), Orrick undertook a much-accelerated lateral hiring process, eventually taking on a group that includes three previous chairmen of Heller and spans antitrust (14 total, 3 in DC), appellate (1), corporate (4), insurance recovery (5, with 2 in DC), intellectual property (4), and securities litigation (3). The whole process took about a month from first contact.


Cam calls the addition in DC of antitrust partners Ted Henneberry (former head of Ireland’s Competition Authority) and David Smutny, both above, and Jay Jurata part of the continuing story of the DC office. When Cam started the DC satellite in ’93 (coming from Milbank Tweed), it functioned as another arm of the NY office—but with DC now up to almost 100 lawyers, Cam is looking for groups that connect DC with Orrick’s international platform.  Ted actually splits his time between DC and London; he opened Heller’s office there a year and a half ago, and told us he was loving the fact that Orrick has a 100-lawyer footprint in merry old England. These two also count Microsoft as a client (not a bad one to have in the antitrust field).


DC imports from Heller include insurance recovery lawyers Mark Plummer and Peri Mahaley (far left), and David Klein (far right). Like other policyholder advocates that take on insurance companies, this group (which includes former Heller Chair Barry Levin, joining in SF) does a portion of its work on contingency. Orrick’s lack of a huge roster of insurance company clients came in handy at conflicts-check time for this group, which was ranked #1 by Chambers.

Bombshell Text from AU Prof.

We admit it—stories about legal treatises don’t normally arouse our interest. (Back in law school, we relied exclusively on Gilberts.) But we make exceptions where  campus bombings are involved, and the story of a land use text just out from AU Prof. Andrew Popper, with an assist from Pillsbury associate David Avitabile and (not pictured) Albany Law Prof. Patricia Salkin, has that and more. It started back in ’84, when Prof. Popper was named chair of the space planning committee for a new law school building for AU. Neighborhood residents held up the development with legal battles for 12 long years. And then, after AU bought an existing property and appeals ran their course, protesters planted a makeshift bomb that ignited a gas line beneath AU.


The law school building opened in ’96, but the nightmare experience stayed with Prof. Popper. “The soles of my shoes actually melted on the pavement,” when he showed up at the bomb scene, and he also had his tires slashed a few times throughout the ordeal. After the ribbon cutting, the professor took a well-earned sabbatical and wrote a novel (Bordering On Madness) to process the emotional land-use fight. This year, he pulled in David and Prof. Salkin to write a companion treatise (called, no surprise, A Companion to Bordering on Madness, Carolina Academic Press). He admits that his first choice for co-author at Pillsbury was managing partner Maureen Dwyer, who had repped the University during the battle, but David ably filled in by contributing a number of essays and culling a selection of DC’s greatest land use fights as case studies.

John Ford is Bisnow’s Legal Editor. Send story ideas to john@bisnow.com.

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