Hunton launches in LA with litigation boutique merger

Hunton & Williams has opened a Los Angeles office after coaxing fiercely independent litigation boutique O’Donnell & Mortimer to join the firm.

O’Donnell managing partner Ann Marie Mortimer joins Hunton as the firm’s LA office managing partner. O’Donnell partners Lisa Brant, Belynda Reck, Daniel Tepstein, Tim Toohey and Steve Valerio all join Hunton as partners.

Pierce O’Donnell, who co-founded the firm with Mortimer in 1996, is not joining Hunton, preferring to remain independent.

Los Angeles becomes Hunton’s 13th US office, and its 18th worldwide.

Hunton will open in LA with 15 fee-earners, and firm managing partner Wally Martinez said the firm would look to expand its environmental and IP litigation practices in California.

O’Donnell came to Hunton’s attention when both firms were selected by Pfizer as external firms as part of the pharmaceutical giant’s P3 outside counsel partnering program, specialising in advice on product liability.

Pfizer chief litigation counsel Sandra Phillips said in a statement: “We are very pleased that two of our highly esteemed firms have decided to unite. Having worked with great lawyers from each firm, we are confident that the expanded Hunton & Williams will offer even stronger resources from the combination of these skilled attorneys.”