Career Tracker: Virtual firms hit an industry milestone as hires continue

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(Reuters) - Virtual law firm FisherBroyles announced Tuesday that it has cracked the Am Law 200, saying it's the first non-traditional, so-called distributed law firm to rank among the top 200 highest-grossing U.S. firms.

The 300-partner firm said its annual gross revenue reached $113 million in 2020, adding that in the last year alone it added 51 new partners "almost entirely from Am Law 100 and 200 ranked firms." It cited the role of the pandemic, which upended expectations about remote work, in spurring its growth and accelerating the adoption of its mostly cloud-based approach to legal services.

At traditional law firms, meanwhile, the acceptance of a remote work model goes beyond promising to be more flexible about in-person hours after the pandemic. Husch Blackwell, for example, continues to add to its virtual office, dubbed The Link. The firm created the virtual office last summer, allowing it to recruit outside of its physical office footprint. Husch last week added Charleston-based financial services and capital markets partners Jason Walton and Cartwright (Carty) Bibee to its virtual team from K&L Gates.

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Shook, Hardy & Bacon last week said it is absorbing virtual technology transactions boutique Ragen Swan, which will integrate into Shook's Seattle office. Partner Amy Ragen will chair the firm's new technology transactions practice group, a hot area in which several other big firms have also been adding firepower.

See below for more recent moves, virtual and otherwise, since our last Career Tracker:

Arent Fox has bulked up its Washington, D.C., office with the additions of Jonathan Bagg as partner and former U.S. Senator Doug Jones and Cissy Jackson as counsel. Bagg, who leaves Cooley, joins the corporate and securities practice. Jones and Jackson, who was counsel and national security advisor for Jones, will be part of the government relations and government enforcement and white collar groups.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has hired former Cravath, Swaine & Moore senior attorney Brittain Rogers as a partner in its corporate practice in New York.

Baker Botts has snagged Paul Hastings' former Houston corporate department chair Doug Getten. He will be a capital markets partner in the firm's Houston office.

Finance partner Laura Martone is leaving Haynes and Boone to rejoin Bracewell's finance practice in New York. Bracewell has also pulled in DOJ veteran Seth DuCharme as a partner in the firm’s government enforcement and investigations practice. DuCharme, who served as a top advisor to then-AG William Barr, left his position as acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in March.

Dechert has brought on Soo-ah Nah as a partner in New York for its finance practice. Nah was most recently at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

George Chaclas has joined Day Pitney's Boston office as a partner in the firm’s intellectual property practice. He is set to join the Providence office once the firm completes its merger with Howland Evangelista Kohlenberg. Chaclas joins from Burns & Levinson.

Debevoise & Plimpton has pulled in the former deputy general counsel for insurance at the New York State Department of Financial Services, Marshal Bozzo. He will join the firm’s New York office as counsel in the insurance regulatory practice.

The former acting deputy administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Doug Benevento, has joined Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath as counsel in its environment and energy practice in Denver.

FisherBroyles has swiped labor and employee benefits partner Kyle Flaherty from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. He joins the firm’s New York office.

John Hawk has joined Fox Rothschild’s Denver office as a partner in the litigation department. He joins from Womble Bond Dickinson.

Shelita Stewart, the former senior deputy general counsel of Comcast Corp, has re-joined Hogan Lovells in D.C. as a partner in the litigation, arbitration and employment practice group.

Husch Blackwell has scooped up three K&L Gates partners. Capital markets duo Jason Walton and Cartwright (Carty) Bibee join the firm’s virtual office, The Link. Both lawyers will be located in Charleston, South Carolina, in the firm's financial services and capital markets practice. Real estate partner Bart Turner joins the firm’s real estate, development and construction industry team.

K&L Gates has added the former Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs director in the U.S. Department of Labor, Craig Leen, as a partner in its labor and employment practice in D.C. The firm also hired Robert Higdon as a partner in its investigations, enforcement, and white collar practice in its Research Triangle Park office. Higdon most recently served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Kirkland & Ellis has tapped former Latham & Watkins counsel Sara Orr a partner in its environmental, social and governance practice in Chicago. Kirkland also added Stanley Ramsay, who was at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, as a partner in the tax practice in New York.

Latham & Watkins brought on litigator Damara Chambers from Vinson & Elkins as a litigation partner in D.C.

Jenny Austin las left Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for Mayer Brown’s tax controversy practice in Chicago, where she joins as a partner.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo has a new member in its environmental and real estate practice. William Squires, who leaves his position as chair of Hinckley Allen & Snyder’s land use and development group, will join the firm’s Boston office.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough has snagged a six-lawyer litigation team from Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann and Beck Redden. Thomas Cullen, Ericka Downie, and Kali Book join as partners and John Maxa and Ryan Cullen join as of counsel from Goodell, while Kate Skagerberg joins as a partner from Beck Redden.

Norton Rose Fulbright brought on litigators and former federal prosecutors Jay Dewald and Julie Searle for its regulations, investigations, securities and compliance practice as partners. Dewald joins the firm’s Dallas and San Antonio offices from Jackson Walker, while Searle leaves her position as senior director of ethics and compliance at Walmart.

Yael Li-Ran Perl is leaving Fenwick & West to join Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as a partner in its technology companies group in Silicon Valley.

The former head of Michael Best & Friedrich’s privacy and security group, Adrienne Ehrhardt, has joined Perkins Coie. She will be a partner in the firm's technology transactions and privacy practice in Madison, Wisconsin.

Former New York State judge James Catterson and hospitality partner William Bosch have joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman's litigation practice from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. Bosch previously led the real estate litigation practice and served as co-head of the hospitality group at his former firm.

Investment funds lawyer Kelli Moll has joined Proskauer Rose as a partner in New York from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has snagged two lateral litigation partners for its Miami office launch. John O'Sullivan joins from Hogan Lovells and Olga Vieira joins from Greenspoon Marder.

Rimon has hired employment benefits and executive compensation partner Craig Tanner in the firm’s new Austin office. Tanner, who will also work out of the firm’s Silicon Valley office, joins from Reed Smith.

Former Buckley partner Moorari Shah is making her way to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton as a partner in its finance and bankruptcy practice group in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Sidley Austin is adding Thomas Ward, who previously served as enforcement director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Ranah Esmaili, the former assistant director in the enforcement division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as partners in Washington, D.C.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges has tapped Merritt Johnson as a partner in its capital markets practice in New York from Shearman & Sterling.

Corporate partner Jonathan Golub is leaving Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt to chair Wiggin and Dana’s fund formation and investment management practice group in New York.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher added three bankruptcy partners – Brett Miller, Dennis Jenkins and Todd Goren – in New York from Morrison & Foerster. Miller, who will serve as global head of creditor rights, previously served as MoFo's New York managing partner and co-chair of its distressed real estate group. Willkie also hired partner Laura Jehl from McDermott Will & Emery to co-chair its cybersecurity and privacy practice. She will be based in Washington, D.C.

(Correction: An earlier version of this story identified Akin Gump hire Brittain Rogers as a former partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Rogers was a senior attorney at Cravath.)

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com

Thomson Reuters

Arriana McLymore reports on the business of law, including diversity in the profession, corporate practices, legal education and attorney career life cycles.