Vinson & Elkins has set up a litigation practice in its New York office with a series of lateral hires
Alan Raylesberg has been hired from Rosenman & Colin, where he was chair of the firm's litigation department. He will jointly head the new litigation group with Clifford Thau, formerly litigation chair at Squadron Ellenoff Plesent & Sheinfeld. In addition to Raylesberg and Thau, the group comprises current Vinson & Elkins partners Jamie Serota and Celso Gonzalez-Falla. Serota has led the firm's antitrust team in New York since it opened in 1998. Gonzalez-Falla has relocated to New York from Houston. The fifth partner is Steven Paradise, another former Squadron Ellenoff partner. He and Thau announced their decision to leave the firm in January. The merger between Hogan & Hartson and Squadron Ellenoff has provoked a slew of partner defections from the Squadron Ellenoff side. Litigation partners seem especially keen to move on. The partners will be taking clients to Vinson & Elkins, but Thau would not disclose names. He said: "We plan to continue to represent clients that we have worked with for years, as well as new clients, in civil litigation, regulatory matters and in internal investigations." Raylesberg said: "We're looking forward to creating a litigation group that will be second to none." The new litigation group will initially be made up of the five partners and six associates. The leavers join a list of disaffected former Squadron Ellenoff lawyers, which now runs to double figures. Ira Sorkin, Daniel Horwitz and Donald Corbett all joined Carter Ledyard & Milburn - Sorkin and Horwitz as partners and Corbett as counsel. At the beginning of this month, partners Lawrence Byrne and Joseph Armao also led an eight-lawyer defection to White & Case. While Byrne cited conflict of interest as his reason to leave Squadron Ellenoff, Sorkin said that he simply did not want to be part of a large firm. "I left because I'm not at all interested in working for a firm with 900 lawyers," he said. "My practice is best suited to a smaller firm and my clients, for the most part, don't care where I practise." Carter Ledyard's chair of the litigation practice James Rayhill said: "Ira Sorkin, Dan Horwitz and Don Corbett are among the top in their areas of securities and white collar defence. They could have gone to any number of firms in New York." Hogan & Hartson was unavailable for comment. It is in the process of relocating Squadron Ellenoff litigation lawyers to join their Hogan & Hartson counterparts in the firm's Third Avenue office.