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Boies Schiller Four-Partner Team Jumps to King & Spalding (3)

June 19, 2020, 3:40 AMUpdated: June 19, 2020, 3:47 PM

King & Spalding has hired a four-partner, New York-based trial team from Boies Schiller & Flexner, the latest in a growing string of exits from the firm founded by famed litigator David Boies.

Boies Schiller has lost a total of 19 attorneys to King & Spalding since April. The latest to join the firm in New York are Damien Marshall, Andrew Michaelson, Leigh Nathanson, and Laura Harris, who start June 23. Michaelson will work in King & Spalding’s government matters practice while the others are set to join its trial and global disputes group.

The lawyers add to a steady stream of departures at Boies, whose 79-year-old founder has come under scrutiny for his work on behalf of Harvey Weinstein and Theranos chief Elizabeth Holmes. The firm has now lost at least 35 partners since the start of February, according to data from Leopard Solutions.

King & Spalding picked up a haul of Boies Schiller attorneys in April that will ultimately be a 15-partner group in California.

Marshall had been appointed in 2018 to a four-member management committee at Boies Schiller that was an earlier step toward transitioning the firm’s leadership away from its founder. Marshall has represented financial services clients including The The Bank of New York Mellon, American Express, and HSBC, according to his online bio.

“The team slots in perfectly with our business litigation and special matters practices in New York, while also expanding the litigation component of our financial services industry initiative,” Robert Hays, chairman of King & Spalding, said in a statement.

On the Move

At Boies Schiller, Nicholas Gravante was also appointed in 2018 to the firm’s management committee. He was elevated to become the firm’s co-managing partner alongside Natasha Harrison late last year, during which the firm brought in a reported $405 million in revenue. The management committee was dissolved when Gravante and Harrison were named co-managing partners.

Karen Dunn, another former management committee member, left Boies Schiller for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison this month along with the firm’s former vice chairman Bill Isaacson. Jenner & Block has also hired a number of former Boies Schiller partners including, Lee Wolosky, Dawn Smalls, David Pressman, and Douglass Mitchell, who have all made the leap since February.

Gravante and Harrison in April told the Financial Times the firm is intentionally shrinking to focus on the most important cases and to develop more business outside of Boies’ practice.

“Departures are an inevitable development as the Firm continues its all-important work of restructuring and building on our position of being one of the leading and most profitable law firms in the country,” Gravante said in a statement Friday.

In an interview, Marshall said his group was drawn to King & Spalding because of the firm’s talent in practice areas including global investigations, class-action defense, corporate, and litigation.

King & Spalding’s special matters and investigations group features more than 40 former federal prosecutors and government enforcement officials, including former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. FBI Director Christopher Wray is a former partner.

“The bench is just so, so deep,” Marshall said. “You could talk for hours about the talent that is in those groups.”

Michaelson practices before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and handles white collar defense cases. As a member of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, he led the insider trading investigation into the Galleon hedge fund and served as trial counsel for the government’s insider trading prosecution against Raj Rajaratnam.

Nathanson currently represents Barclays in multi jurisdictional litigation involving the alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate. She has represented HSBC and DraftKings, the fantasy sports operator. Harris has also represented those clients.

In a statement provided to Bloomberg Law, Marshall said he had “complete confidence” Boies Schiller’s co-managing partners Harrison and Gravante would keep the firm “at the forefront of the most significant matters” and litigate “with creativity and a passion for justice.”

Harrison said Boies Schiller wishes the departing partners “every success in their new pursuits.”

“While it may disappoint, it is not a surprise that competitors are going to recruit what we have cultivated, and sometimes succeed,” Harrison said.

(Added statements from Boies Schiller co-managing partners.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bloomberglaw.com

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