Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Hunton & Williams: Mystery Solved?

WARNING!!! My statements are not assertions of fact; rather, they are symptoms of a psychotic mental illness. My statements do not claim, expressly or implied, to be factual.


Akin Gump Losing D.C. Partners to Hunton & Williams

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has spent the month of [July 2008] bleeding partners. Now, several more are heading out the door, bound for Hunton & Williams — including some big Washington names.


Legal Times has learned that the departing partners include Washington rainmaker Richard Wyatt Jr., as well as D.C. partners Joseph Esposito, Todd Stenerson, J. Steven Patterson, Michael O’Shea, and Michael Mueller. Texas Lawyer reported early this week that a total of nine partners are leaving, though not all are from the Washington office.

The departing partners cover a range of practice areas.

Wyatt’s firm biography lists him as a member of the firm’s executive committee, and Washington legal recruiters say he was one of the highest paid partners, if not the highest paid partner, in Akin Gump’s D.C. office. He focuses on antitrust, commercial litigation, class actions, and labor and employment matters.

[Richard Wyatt was a partner at Akin Gump during the entirety of my tenure there, from March 1988 through October 1991. He worked on Eastern Airlines litigation. It was my belief that Richard Wyatt was in the loop with regard to Akin Gump's fraud and racketeering activities.]

Esposito focuses on commercial litigation and class actions. Stenerson also handles commercial litigation, but also focuses on antitrust matters. Patterson specializes in corporate governance matters, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance and securities. O’Shea practices in IP litigation, and also focuses on commercial litigation and biosciences work.

The departing partners did not return requests for comment. Akin Gump was not immediately available for comment, and Hunton & Williams declined to comment.

On July 15, Akin’s D.C. office lost another high profile rainmaker, Michael Madigan. After nearly 30 years with Akin Gump, the white-collar defender jumped to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Read more on that departure in this recent Legal Times story.

[Michael Madigan was a partner at Akin Gump during the entirety of my tenure at the firm, from March 1988 through October 1991. It was my belief that Michael Madigan was in the loop with regard to Akin Gump's fraud and racketeering activities. At age 30, he served as Counsel to Senator Howard Baker on the historic Senate Watergate Committee. In addition, Mr. Madigan has served as Chief Counsel for Senator Fred Thompson’s Campaign Finance investigation, Counsel to the Church Committee and Minority Counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee.]

The most recent group heading to Hunton follows a team of ex-Akin Gump labor and employment partners who joined Hunton July 1. Roland Juarez and Laura Franze left Akin to split their time between Hunton’s Los Angeles and Dallas locales. And Brett Burns and Fraser McAlpine joined Hunton’s San Francisco office.

Posted by Marisa McQuilken on July 29, 2008 in Legal Business


Gary Freedman said...

Complainant was routinely invited to attend, and did attend, legal assistant staff meetings. The legal assistant administrative staff arranged for Complainant to attend Westlaw and Lexis training both on-site and off-site on a number of occasions. Complainant was invited to attend, and did attend, legal assistant seminars including a series of weekly writing seminars for legal assistants in February 1989 conducted by one of the Respondent's associates, Gary Rubin; a cite checking seminar for legal assistants held in about early 1989 conducted by one of Respondent's associates, Michael J. Mueller; and a legislative seminar held in about early 1989 conducted by one of Respondent's partners, Edward S. Knight (?). Also, Complainant was issued personalized Westlaw and Lexis access cards for use in computer searches of legal databases. The issuance of such access cards--indeed, all of the above activities--were unrelated to the Litigation support tasks on which Complainant was engaged during that period and inconsistent with Respondent's representation to the Office of Human Rights that Complainant was employed to manage documents for the client Eastern Airlines.

Gary Freedman said...

10-05-01 I start on my antipsychotic meds tonight. As for an end to these letters, don't hold your breath. Now to your assignment: During the entire period of my early tenure at Akin Gump (beginning March 1988) there was a paralegal at the firm named Jeffrey Wertman -- a recent college graduate who worked in the labor group on Eastern Airlines. The same project I worked on. Subject left the firm in late summer 1988 to attend American University Law School. He would have graduated in about 1991. I know that according to an entry in Martindale-Hubble (the lawyer's directory) subject practiced in Miami, Florida. Subject won a writing competition in law school. I believe Richard Wyatt, Esq., a partner at Akin Gump, wrote a letter of recommendation for subject that should be on file at AU. Subject resided at 3701 Connecticut Avenue--next door.

Gary Freedman said...

July 31, 2008
Hunton Sets Its Sights on Akin Gump

Posted by Francesca Heintz

When Wally Martinez returned to Hunton & Williams two years ago to serve as the firm's managing partner, he went in with a strategy: Expand the firm's national reach by taking on large groups in target practice areas. And go after only the best and the brightest.

The recent announcement that the firm snagged nine Akin Gump lawyers, led by top D.C. litigator Richard Wyatt--a former member of Akin Gump's executive committee--fits right into Martinez's vision.
"Our preferred strategy is to bring in larger groups as much as possible," says the 41-year-old lawyer. "We will bring in ones and twos, but there has to be a real niche area that needs to be filled." The Akin Gump lawyers are mostly class action litigators, a practice area that Hunton has targeted for growth; several also boosted Hunton's corporate and securities group and its IP practice.

Wyatt says that Martinez's growth strategy was a big factor in his decision to leave after 20-plus years at the firm. "Wally's strategy to develop a law firm composed of wonderful practices and practitioners resonated with us," says Wyatt. "Firms built that way do well during up-cycles and down-cycles."

Martinez adds that every partner the firm has brought on meets the high standards that Hunton banks on. "Richard is one of the great boardroom consiglieri," says Martinez. "He's the sort of guy people go to when their company is on the line."

For Akin Gump's part, chairman R. Bruce McLean told sibling publication Legal Times that he was sorry to see the group leave. "These are good partners in the firm. We would've preferred that all of them stay," McLean said.

The nine new hires also will fan out to geographical hot spots--including Houston and Los Angeles--that Hunton has targeted for growth. Six are joining the D.C. office, a major anchor for the firm, according to Martinez. Two are heading to Houston, further boosting Hunton's Texas operations. (In April 2007, Hunton hired about 100 lawyers from Dallas's now defunct Jenkens & Gilchrist.) One of the new partners is joining the Los Angeles office; this comes just a month after another two Akin Gump lawyers signed on with Hunton's L.A. office. (The two were part of a larger group of lawyers hired to build up Hunton's California practice; the group included several who launched a San Francisco office for the firm.)
This week's additions bring the total number of laterals hired by Hunton since January 2007 to 247, including 82 partners.
Will the firm break 250 soon? Absolutely, says Martinez. "Our thought is that a tough economy doesn't necessarily impede growth as long as you're sticking to your strategy."