Ex-Dow Lohnes Partners Find New Homes, But Not at Cooley

, The Am Law Daily



UPDATE: 11/6/13, 10:15 a.m. EST. Former Dow Lohnes tax litigation partner Judith Mather in Washington, D.C., has joined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom as of counsel.

Left behind after Cooley announced last month it would pick up 54 lawyers from Dow Lohnes, a handful of attorneys from the former Am Law 200 firm have moved on to new opportunities in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

The Am Law Daily first reported in late September on Dow Lohnes’ merger talks with potential suitors following the loss of more than half of its lawyers over the past few years to rival firms and in-house positions. While Cooley is now poised to pick up the bulk of Dow Lohnes following their proposed tie-up, set to go live on January 1, the latter firm’s Atlanta office will not be part of the deal.

Christopher Meazell, a former midwestern regional managing partner at Dow Lohnes who most recently worked out of the firm’s Atlanta office, has now joined Covington & Burling as special counsel in Washington, D.C. Reached late Monday by phone, Meazell says he specializes in IP and commercial litigation in the media and telecommunications realm, adding that he was drawn to Covington because of the firm’s expertise in the field.

Joining Cooley was never really an option for Meazell, who notes he had a somewhat unique relationship with Dow Lohnes, which he joined in 2001 and was of counsel with at the time of his departure last week. Before law school, Meazell was an “art rock musician” who toured throughout Europe, and from 2007 to 2012 he was the managing partner of Dow Lohnes’s now shuttered outpost in Norman, Okla., during which time he served as an adjunct law professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Meazell is now based in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he serves as director of the master of studies in law program at the Wake Forest University School of Law in addition to his role as special counsel at Covington. Meazell says the program is designed for nonlawyers going into the business or nonprofit world who “want to learn a little more” about how the law works. He also teaches classes on contracts and law firm economics.

Asked about the demise of Dow Lohnes, where he spent the better part of a decade, Meazell says he’s sad to see the firm that’s been home to many friends and colleagues disappear into Cooley.

Among the other lawyers who won’t be making the move to Cooley are former Dow Lohnes senior litigation counsel Brent Olson in Washington, D.C., who has joined local firm Loss, Judge & Ward as an associate, and litigation partner Peter Coffman in Atlanta. Coffman is headed to Thompson Hine as a partner in the same city, according to records on file with the State Bar of Georgia, which he confirmed in an email.

Dow Lohnes’ Atlanta base dates back to the 1980s, following the firm’s hire of Marion “Chip” Allen III, who brought with him Cox Enterprises as a key communications client. Allen went on to serve as chairman of Dow Lohnes until he was killed in a 1998 plane crash near Atlanta that also claimed the lives of three other firm partners, the families of whom later agreed to a $42 million settlement in connection with the accident, according to sibling publication the Daily Report.

The Daily Report noted this summer that the loss of Cox as an exclusive client of the firm led to a major shake-up of the Atlanta office, where Dow Lohnes partners decamped in rapid succession for rivals like Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

Cox has said publicly it will continue using former Dow Lohnes lawyers for communications regulatory work now that they are at Cooley, and the Atlanta-based cable giant has hosted an annual conservation award named in Chip Allen’s honor. (Coffman is chairman of the Chip Allen Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, a Memphis-based nonprofit dedicated to wetlands conservation.)

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