The chairmen of Crowell & Moring’s international arbitration and financial services practices are departing for Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Thompson & Knight, respectively, each taking additional lawyers with them.

International arbitration chairman Arif Ali is leaving with three other partners from the practice group — Alexandre de Gramont and Theodore Posner in Washington and Samaa Haridi in New York — to Weil Gotshal, Crowell confirmed last week.

William O’Connor, former chairman of Crowell’s financial services group in New York, has joined Thompson & Knight with financial services partner Evelyn Seeler, Thompson & Knight has announced.

“We wish them well as they pursue their new opportunities,” said Ellen Dwyer, managing partner of Crowell & Moring. “Our international arbitration and financial services practices will continue to grow.”

Chicago firm opens in D.C.

Chicago-based law firm Chapman & Cutler opened its first Washington office last week with six former Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe attorneys.

Chapman & Cutler, which focuses on banking, corporate finance and securities and public finance transactions, opened its fifth office with partners Craig Fishman, Rachel George, Felicia Graham, Douglas Madsen, Michael Mitchell and Mark Riccardi, who specialize in structured financing. The 230-lawyer firm is also in New York, Salt Lake City and San Francisco.

A Washington presence will provide a platform to monitor financial reform developments and grow bank regulatory, tax, project finance and government relations practices, the firm said.

Holland & Knight beefs up communications services

Holland & Knight, which houses one of K Street’s most lucrative lobbying shops, has hired three crisis communications advisers to build the firm’s strategic communications services for clients, the firm announced last week.

Audrey Young, Mark Meissner and Stewart Gordon boost the firm’s communications team from four to seven.

“Clients are looking for the best value for their dollar,” Rich Gold, head of Holland & Knight’s lobbying practice, said in a statement. “Keeping needed services under one umbrella is often the best financial route to take. Adding crisis communications professionals ... allows for better cohesion among a client’s communications team and its legal or advocacy team.”