Howrey suffers yet more departures as Pillsbury swoops for US litigation team

US firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has become the latest to pick at what is left of the Howrey partnership, taking on a six-partner litigation team in the States.

Jim Rishwain
Jim Rishwain

The partners join along with two counsel and seven associates with the team based across Pillsbury’s offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC and New York. Partners David Dekker, Jeffrey Gans, Melissa Lesmes and Michael McNamara join the Washington DC office while Robert Thum will be based in Los Angeles and John Heisse in San Francisco.

All six focus on construction litigation, with a particular emphasis on general construction and engineering, real estate and infrastructure projects.

In a statement Pillsbury chair Jim Rishwain said: “We’re enthusiastic to have this team of market-leading professionals join Pillsbury, as these attorneys are remarkable for their breadth of litigation and arbitration experience combined with an unsurpassed focus on construction and infrastructure.

“These attorneys are a dynamic fit for us, given Pillsbury’s industry focus in energy, real estate and project development.  They also add credible and critical depth in DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York and elevate our ability to serve our clients’ needs throughout the world.”

Meanwhile, Washington DC managing partner and corporate co-chair Roger Klein is joining Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton and Washington DC antitrust partner Scott Hataway is leaving for Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker.

Other moves include Chicago-based insurance coverage partners Jill Berkeley and Seth Lamden, who are leaving to join Neal Gerber. Berkeley will co-chair the firm’s insurance policyholder practice.

These are the latest in a long line of departures from Howrey. As reported yesterday, the firm has been left with just one partner in the City after Kirkland & Ellis hired two competition lawyers (1 March 2011) while a Brussels partner defected to Morrison & Foerster (1 March 2011).

On Monday we revealed that Winston & Strawn is finalising plans to take over Howrey’s Washington DC and Houston teams while also negotiating purchasing the rights to the troubled firm’s brand (28 February 2011).

Last week Pillsbury hired San Francisco partner Duane Mathiowetz while Hogan Lovells and Baker Botts made some hires (15 February 2011).