Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is making waves on the US West Coast after taking on the chairman of Fenwick & West's litigation group

Timothy Roake, one of California's top litigators, is due to rejoin Gibson Dunn's Palo Alto office at the end of January. He was previously an associate at the firm from 1983-1988.

Roake's departure comes just weeks after Patricia Lucas, a senior litigation partner at Fenwick & West's Palo Alto office, announced she was leaving to become a judge.

Although Roake is being replaced by Lynn Pasachow, who joined Fenwick & West from McCutchen Doyle Brown & Enersen (now Bingham McCutchen) in 2001, the departures are a blow to the firm.

Litigation is one of a small number of practices that has remained profitable, while areas such as M&A and capital markets continue to suffer.

Gibson Dunn's coup also serves as further evidence that lawyers at traditional West Coast practices are becoming more predisposed to moving firms.