By Casey Sullivan
Jan 31 (Reuters) - DLA Piper poached the highest number of
partners from other law firms in 2012, the third year in a row,
according to a new report from The American Lawyer.
The 4,200-lawyer firm, known for its rapid growth through
mergers and acquisitions, hired 97 partners worldwide in 2012,
while losing 34, for a net gain of 63 partners, said the report.
DLA Piper's hiring practices reflect an ongoing trend in the
legal industry, in which law firms recruit partners from
competing firms as a way to boost revenue quickly. In 2012,
2,691 partners left or joined Am Law 200 firms, a 9.7 increase
over 2011, when 2,454 partners switched firms, the report said.
Jay Rains, co-chair of DLA Piper, told Reuters in a
statement that the firm "endeavor(s) to be very careful and
deliberate in the (recruiting) process we apply."
Like many other U.S. law firms, DLA Piper in 2012 recruited
lawyers from New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf in the months
leading up to the firm's collapse in May. DLA Piper picked up as
many as 21 partners, including corporate lawyers Berge Setrakian
and John Altorelli and former co-chair of Dewey's insurance
group, William Marcoux.
The No. 2 firm on the survey, Washington-based McKenna Long
& Aldridge, achieved its ranking by merging with the San Diego
law firm Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in March, which added
69 partners to McKenna Long's West Coast practice, according to
the report. Mergers are another tool firms have used for rapid
growth in the last few years.
Jones Day, meanwhile, ranked No. 3, with 56 new partners
hired in 2012. One of the firm's highest-profile hires was
bankruptcy partner Bruce Bennett, who joined the firm in Los
Angeles from Dewey & LeBoeuf before its failure.
The law firms that lost the most partners in 2012, after
Dewey, included SNR Denton, which lost 57 partners, or 11
percent of its partnership, and K&L Gates, which lost 40
partners, or 4 percent. Chadbourne & Park lost 27 partners, or
21 percent, while Vinson & Elkins lost 31 partners, or 12
Andrew Giaccia, managing partner of Chadbourne & Parke, said
in a statement that the firm's turnover reflects "some difficult
decisions involving our partnership, but has also involved
making smart, forward-looking investments."
The other law firms mentioned either declined to comment or
did not respond to requests when contacted by Reuters.
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