Partner loss clouds Pillsbury’s ChevronTexaco relationship

Pillsbury Winthrop may be in danger of missing out on work for its prized client ChevronTexaco, after losing one its top litigators to Jones Day.

Robert Mittelstaedt is leaving Pillsbury after more than 20 years to join Jones Day’s West Coast practice, spanning Los Angeles and Menlo Park.
During his time at Pillsbury, Mittelstaedt has become recognised for the wealth of work he has undertaken for ChevronTexaco, which sources say contributes between $20m (£12.5m) and $30m ($18.8m) to Pillsbury’s revenues, which for 2002 totalled $415m (£260.3m).
Prior to the October 2001 merger between Chevron and Texaco, Mittelstaedt acted for Chevron on a number of large cases, as well as for Dynergy, in which the combined oil giant holds a 26.5 per cent stake.
Pillsbury has a longstanding relationship with Chevron and subsequently the merged company, strengthened by the fact that, until recently, the oil giant had recruited former Pillsbury partners as general counsel.
In the early 1980s former Pillsbury partner Charles Renfrew became general counsel, before being replaced on his retirement by another of the firm’s partners, Harvey Hinman, in 1993. However, in December last year, Hinman retired and was replaced by Charles James, previously the assistant attorney general at the US Department of Justice in charge of the antitrust division. James was the former chairman of the antitrust and trade regulation practice at Jones Day – Mittelstaedt’s new home.
ChevronTexaco declined to comment on the future of the company’s chosen legal advisers. Both Jones Day and Pillsbury were unavailable for comment.