The Churn: Lateral Moves in The Am Law 200

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The Churn

Weil, Gotshal & Manges has lost another Texas partner in Dallas, R. JAY TABOR, this time to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Tabor's new firm announced the hire Monday.

Tabor's departure from Weil comes after several other defections from the firm's Dallas and Houston offices. The losses follow Weil's announcement earlier this year that it planned to scale back its commercial litigation practices in Houston and Boston, fire 110 staffers and 60 associates, and cut some partners' salaries.

Tabor says that while it's no secret there have been changes in Weil's Dallas office, those changes were not the reason he moved. Instead, he says, he joined Gibson because of what he calls the "buzz" around the firm's Dallas office and because, "I had close friendships with some corporate partners" at Gibson. One of those friends is Gibson's M&A group cochair, Jeffrey Chapman, who recruited Tabor to his first firm job out of law school, at Johnson & Gibbs.

Tabor's last day at Weil was on Friday, and he started at Gibson on Monday.

In another notable move, Davis Polk & Wardwell has hired BRIAN LICHTER from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson as a partner in its real estate practice, based in New York.

The addition marks just the fourth time that the firm has made a lateral partner hire to its New York office, according to Davis Polk managing partner Thomas Reid. "We made one lateral hire in the last year," he says, referring to former Shearman & Sterling finance partner Monica Holland joining the credit group as a partner in July, "and before that, we have only laterally hired two [partners] to our New York office."

Reid says the firm more often hires laterals to its Hong Kong and U.K. offices since both of those locations began with U.S. law practitioners and expanded in recent years into practicing local law.

For Lichter's part, he says he came to the firm because of what he views as Davis Polk's commitment to its real estate practice. Even before joining Davis Polk, Lichter's work crossed paths with the New York firm. Last September, Lichter was one of several Fried Frank partners who advised New York real estate operating company RXR Realty on its acquisition of 450 Lexington Avenue—home to Davis Polk's primary office—from the Dubai-based investment firm Istithmar World for an undisclosed sum.

Lichter, who joined Fried Frank after graduating from law school in 2002 and became a partner there in 2011, is slated to start practicing at Davis Polk on November 1. A Fried Frank spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.

In other Churn news …

Cozen O'Connor has added several partners to its New York office in recent weeks. New hire JOHN SULLIVAN came to the firm from Dechert and focuses on product liability defense for pharmaceutical and tobacco clients. MICHAEL DE LEEUW moved over from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and works on litigation involving securities, bankruptcy, antitrust, mergers and acquisitions, and defamation. ADAM STEIN jumped from Ropes & Gray to join Cozen's global insurance department.

JOHN LESLIE has moved from Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone to Dickinson Wright, where he will practice domestic and cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters. He joins as a partner in the firm's Toronto office.

Drinker Biddle & Reath has hired JASON BARON, the former director of litigation for the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, for its information governance and e-discovery group. Baron is now of counsel in the firm's Washington, D.C., office.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has brought on RYAN BERGSIEKER as of counsel in its Denver office. Bergsieker, formerly an assistant U.S attorney for the District of Colorado, practices in the litigation and white-collar groups.

JASON HABINSKY has joined Haynes and Boone as a partner in New York. Previously at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Habinsky is an employment litigator, counseling clients in trials, mediations, and arbitrations both in New York and nationally.

Jenner & Block has expanded in New York with the hire of URI DORON from Reed Smith. A partner in the corporate department, Doron specializes in mergers and acquisitions and private equity work, often with a cross-border component.

K&L Gates has added five new partners across three of its Australian offices. In Perth, AMBER STANTON, most recently with Squire Sanders, joins the energy, infrastructure, and resources practice. Also in Perth, ANDREW KENNEDY joins the firm's labor, employment, and workplace safety practice after leaving the Australian subsidiary of the gold-producing Newmont Mining Corporation. In Sydney, CHRISTA LENARD, previously with Clayton Utz, comes in as a labor and employment partner and BETSY-ANN HOWE, last with Sparke Helmore, as a tax partner. In Melbourne, ALAN MACLEAN joins the finance group after departing HWL Ebsworth. Sibling publication The Asian Lawyer has more on the moves.

JOSH LEAVITT has jumped from K&L Gates to Much Shelist's Chicago headquarters as a principal, the firm's equivalent of a partner. Leavitt practices in the area of construction law.

Sills Cummis & Gross has hired CHARLES KAPLAN as a member in its New York office. Previously with Sedgwick, Kaplan's labor and employment practice focuses on the defense of employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, affirmative action, wage and hour, and class action cases.

Patent lawyer TREVOR COOK is slated to joined Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr's New York office in early 2014 as a partner, sibling publication The Litigation Daily reports. Cook is currently in London with Bird & Bird, which he joined in 1974 and has practiced at as a partner since 1981.

The Churn is compiled from law firm releases and announcements. Moves based on our own reporting will note this. Please send all announcements and news releases to thechurn@alm.com.

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