July 19 (Reuters) - San Francisco-based Morrison Foerster
announced on Thursday that firm chairman Keith Wetmore would be
stepping down after 12 years in the post and that it had elected
Larren Nashelsky, the co-chair of the firm's bankruptcy and
restructuring practice, to succeed him.
Nashelsky, who joined the firm in 1999, will assume the
leadership role on Oct. 17.
Partners at Morrison Foerster began voting on Nashelsky's
appointment late Wednesday. The election was uncontested, and
the result was made known Thursday.
Wetmore, one of the few openly gay chairman in the legal
industry, steered the firm through a particularly challenging
period for law firms in San Francisco, when competitors such as
Heller Ehrman, Thelen and Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison closed up
He informed his partners he would not seek another term
several months ago. The firm's leadership committees interviewed
a number of candidates and nominated Nashelsky earlier this
Wetmore said he decided that a dozen years at the helm were
enough. "It is tempting to use incumbency as leverage for
retention, but that can lead to staying at the job for too
long," he said. "I thought it was time for a new generation of
leadership to stir things up a little bit."
Under the title of chairman emeritus, Wetmore will continue
his involvement with the firm and help Nashelsky with firm
business on an as-needed basis, Wetmore said.
Nashelsky, whose clients include Residential Capital,
Tricom, Caribbean Petroleum Corp and Paper International, Inc,
will be the first chairman at Morrison Foerster who will begin
his term based in New York, according to a firm spokesman.
Wetmore moved to New York from the West Coast after being
elected chairman in 2000.
(Reporting By Casey Sullivan)
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