Winston to expand after partner exits

Chicago-based firm Winston & Strawn is to focus on rebuilding its domestic practice and expanding in Asia and Europe following a management reshuffle and a spate of partner losses.

Chairman James Thompson told The Lawyer that Winston was looking to grow its New York and California presences at the same time as researching new opportunities in Asia and Europe.

The firm is also looking to expand in London, which Thompson said “could come by way of merger or by way of hiring lateral partners”.

The comments follow a series of defections from Winston, including last week’s loss of banking and finance rainmaker Robert Bostrom to US mortgage lender Freddie Mac, where he becomes executive vice-president and general counsel.

Other recent losses include former head of projects Chris McIsaac in January and projects partner Lori Bean in December, both to Clifford Chance in New York.

Thompson said the expansion strategy would be a key focus of Winston’s incoming managing partner Thomas Fitzgerald, whose appointment was announced last week.

Fitzgerald will replace incumbent James Neis, who steps down in August after 13 years in the role to return to full-time practice in the corporate department. At the same time, Thomas Frederick, Winston’s relationship partner for tobacco giant Philip Morris, has been named global head of litigation, Rex Sessions as head of labour and employment law and James Curtiss as head of the energy practice.

The firm’s executive committee is also due to rule on whether Thompson, who at 70 is past the firm’s 65-year-old retirement age, will be allowed to serve another term as chairman after his current term ends in August.