27 August 2020

US lateral hires market picks up among litigation practices

Disputes partner Jeremy Vest is swapping Boies Schiller for Mintz, Levin in New York

Three top US law firms all make experienced litigation partner hires as firms double down on disputes

Mintz Levin, McGuireWoods and O’Melveny & Myers have all expanded their litigation departments, with US firms anticipating a wave of litigation across multiple sectors as the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic become clearer.

Rising star Jeremy Vest has joined Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo after leaving his position as a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner.

Vest joins Mintz’s New York litigation practice, bringing experience in multiple commercial and regulatory matters, including those related to structured financial products following the 2008 credit crash and litigating various pharmaceutical and medical device companies as a corporate defence lawyer. 

Notably, he was part of the team which successfully represented the co-founder of AriZona Iced Tea in one of New York State’s most extensive ever corporate valuation proceedings. 

Mintz’s managing partner, Bob Bodian, described Vest as “a highly respected, first-chair litigator.” He added that Vest’s arrival “puts more distinguished resources in the hands of our clients” and further strengthened Mintz’s bench of litigators in reuniting him with former Boies partner Courtney Rockett, who joined Mintz Levin at the end of June.

Vest leaves Boies Schiller after 13 years. He is the latest in a growing line of Boies Schiller exits; earlier this month Meredith Dearborn and Jessica Phillips left the firm for Paul Weiss, while between April and July alone, the firm lost around 20 lawyers to various rival law firms. 

McGuire Woods hires Francisco

Elsewhere, McGuireWoods has recruited litigation partner Michael Francisco. He most recently clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, one of President Trump’s first appointments to the US’s highest court. 

Francisco, who focuses on commercial and public policy litigation, appellate matters and strategic counselling, joins McGuireWoods’ investigations and white-collar litigation department in Washington DC. 

The department’s chair, Todd Steggerda, said: “Michael is a proven litigator whose appellate experience and deep understanding of public policy and regulatory matters complement the strengths of our nationally recognised practice.”

Before his Supreme Court clerkship, Francisco spent four years as a partner at boutique firm MRD Law, and two years in public service as the assistant solicitor general in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, and almost five years as an associate attorney at Denver firm Rothgerber, Johnson & Lyons.

Park moves to O’Melveny

Finally, leading securities litigator Amy Park has joined O’Melveny & Myers from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Park joins O’Melveny’s securities litigation practice in Silicon Valley after having spent nearly 20 years in the firm’s San Francisco office. 

Park focuses primarily on the technology, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, all key industries in the region, and is recognised for her expertise in securities, business and financial disputes.

O’Melveny’s chair, Bradley Butwin, described Park as “a leader in empowering women lawyers to reach the highest levels of success and a champion for diversity across our profession,” while Paul Sieben, the Silicon Valley office’s managing partner, said she would be “extremely valuable to their clients.”

“Technology companies of all stages, as well as venture capital, growth, and private equity funds, are increasingly involved in litigation to further their market objectives and maintain their competitive advantages,” Sieben added.

She indicated that a historic high in US securities litigation filings had driven the firm’s expansion in Silicon Valley, one of the only practice areas to see a sustained uptick in filings during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other firms are making new hires with eyes on the West Coast. As well as Paul Weiss’s plans to open an office in Northern California with the arrival of Meredith Dearborn, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced the opening of its Silicon Valley office in July, one of the first Magic Circle firms to extend its offering there locally.

Email your news and story ideas to: news@globallegalpost.com