Amid Merger Talks, Dentons and McKenna Partners Depart
Reed Smith announced Wednesday that it has hired a three-partner tax team from Dentons led by David Hryck, who has handled charitable work for celebrities such as musician Wyclef Jean and model Petra Nemcova, while Crowell & Moring picked up a pair of government contracts partners from McKenna Long & Aldridge.
The lateral moves come as McKenna Long and Dentons continue to pursue a potential combination. As first reported by The Am Law Daily last week, the Am Law 100 firms are discussing a merger that could create a 3,100-lawyer entity that would be the world's third-largest firm by attorney head count.
Reed Smith, which last month poached Dentons energy and natural resources partner Jonathan Solomon in London, said in a statement that Hryck is joining the firm along with partners Jeffrey Korenblatt and David Mason, counsel Sheila Geraghty, and transfer pricing economist Theodore van Stephoudt.
Hryck, who declined to comment about his former firm's merger talks, calls Reed Smith "a very unique place as far as law firms go," lauding the Am Law 100 firm with Pittsburgh roots for its global platform and commitment to a variety of practice areas. According to The American Lawyer's most recent Am Law 100 rankings, Reed Smith had $1 billion in gross revenue and profits per partner of $1.1 million last year, while Dentons predecessor firm SNR Denton had gross revenue of $710.5 million and profits per partner of $785,000.
Hryck, Korenblatt, Mason, and Geraghty left DLA Piper in February 2012 to join SNR Denton, which made Hryck the U.S. head of its international tax practice. Van Stephoudt, who also worked at DLA at one point, joined SNR Denton in March 2012 from Squire Sanders. Hryck, Mason, Geraghty, and van Stephoudt will work out of New York, while Korenblatt will be based in Reed Smith's office in Washington, D.C.
Hryck says his group represents clients on cross-border corporate and tax matters in the fashion, retail, and entertainment space, including "high-net-worth individuals."
One of those clients is Jean, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist whose ties to Hryck led him to perform live at DLA's New York office three years ago, according to our previous reports. Hryck confirmed Wednesday that he still represents Jean—tax records show both he and Mason once served as board members for the singer's now-defunct Haitian charity—but declined to discuss the client relationship. (Jean's charity, which has drawn criticism over its Haitian earthquake relief efforts, is now mired in legal troubles.)
Hryck met Jean through Nemcova, another of his high-profile clients. The newly minted Reed Smith partner represents the model, philanthropist, and prominent tsunami survivor's Happy Hearts Fund and serves as the organization's secretary. Hryck also advises the Chicago-based Lifeline Humanitarian Organization, a nonprofit run by Prince Alexander and Princess Katherine of Serbia.
Hryck—a world fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award for Excellence Fund, which was founded by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh—says he expects all his clients to accompany him to his new firm. He declined to comment on the name of the legal recruiter he worked with in making the move.
For Reed Smith, Wednesday's partner hires follow closely on the heels of last week's surprise announcement that longtime firm chairman and global managing partner Gregory Jordan is leaving to become general counsel and head of regulatory and government affairs at client PNC Financial Services. Jordan was immediately succeeded by Alexander "Sandy" Thomas, a Reed Smith litigation partner based in Washington, D.C.