Legal briefs: More Howrey departures

By Amanda Becker
Monday, March 7, 2011

Some of Howrey's most high-profile local departures to date occurred last week, as those who remained at the disintegrating firm continued negotiating deals to join the Chicago firm Winston & Strawn.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman snagged the largest group, bringing over a 15-member team from Howrey that included six partners, four of whom -- David T. Dekker, Jeffrey Gans, Melissa Lesmes and Michael McNamara -- were in Washington. It's the second move in less than three years for those partners, who landed at Howrey after Thelen's demise in 2008.

The group reached out to their former Thelen colleagues at Pillsbury in early January, when it became clear that client conflicts of interest might make it difficult to join Winston & Strawn. The strong infrastructure, energy, project finance and real estate practices at Pillsbury make it a better fit with their construction and insurance work, Gans said.

"This is the second move in two years, three months and seven days, and we intend for it to be the last move for us," Gans said on Thursday. "We were looking for a very stable place, and a place where we could practice happily for a long time."

Howrey's former general counsel and managing partner of its local office, Roger A. Klein, likewise found a new home last week, joining the local office of the California firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. Other local departures last week included Ezra Levine, who left for Morrison & Foerster; C. Scott Hataway, who landed at Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker; and antitrust attorney Roxann E. Henry, who joined Dewey & LeBoeuf.

MPAA taps Dodd

The Motion Picture Association of America announced last week that former senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) will be the group's new chairman and chief executive, ending a more than year-long search to fill the top spot at the organization, which represents the interests of Walt Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. in Washington.

Dodd, who will begin his new job March 17, was among several candidates the group has considered in recent months.

"Chris Dodd not only has the political instincts and experience, but he's the right person to lead the film industry through its toughest challenges regarding content protection and piracy on a domestic and global scale," said Warner Bros. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Barry Meyer in a statement.

Richmond poaches Georgetown dean

The University of Richmond's School of Law has named Wendy Collins Perdue, currently an associate dean and professor at Georgetown University Law Center, as its new dean.

Perdue, who has been at Georgetown since 1982, will succeed current Dean John G. Douglass on July 1. Perdue's scholarly work has focused on civil procedure, conflict of laws, land use and public health. The Duke University law school graduate clerked for now Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy when he sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced law before entering academia.

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