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Vinson & Elkins Nabs a Boies Schiller Partner in New York (2)

March 10, 2020, 3:53 PMUpdated: March 10, 2020, 8:53 PM

Longtime Boies Schiller Flexner partner Christopher Duffy has joined Vinson & Elkins as a partner in New York.

Duffy’s practice focuses on complex commercial trials and appeals as well as government investigations. He’s also represented clients in securities litigation, corporate governance, commercial disputes, mergers and acquisitions.

He joined Boies Schiller in 2002, representing Barclays Plc, Goldman Sachs Group, the New York Yankees and the Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX.

Vinson & Elkins is a full-service law firm that does a lot of work in the areas he practices in and has a particular focus on trial work, which made it an attractive option, Duffy said Tuesday. “By the time I got to the end of the process, it was a clear decision.”

Duffy’s departure is just the latest from the New York-based Boies Schiller. Since the start of 2020 the litigation firm has seen more than a dozen partners decamp to other firms.

“We thank Chris for his service to our clients over the years, and wish him the very best at his new firm,” said Boies Schiller managing partner Nick Gravante in a statement to Bloomberg Law. In December Gravante and London-based partner Natasha Harrison were named managing partners alongside name partners David Boies and Jonathan Schiller.

Duffy said the leadership changes at Boies Schiller didn’t play a role in his decision to move.

“I’m proud to have been there for the years that I was and I’m proud to be an alum at this point,” Duffy said. “It’s a great firm and it will continue to be a great firm.”

Duffy’s addition will enhance Vinson & Elkins’ global trial and litigation team and builds on its recent expansion in New York, that firm said in a statement issued Tuesday morning.

“His impressive trial resumé and representation of investment banks matches perfectly with our existing trial and litigation practice,” co-head of V&E’s complex commercial litigation practice Michael Holmes said in the statement. “Our team has tried numerous high-profile, high-stakes cases, and having someone with Chris’ trial experience in New York will add a new dimension to our team.”

Over the last year Houston-based V&E has added several partners to its New York office. Last April the firm picked up a 15-lawyer team from Kasowitz Benson Torres, led by partners Wallace Schwartz, Adam Endick, and Julia Sanabria. And international arbitration partner Camilo Cardozo and white collar litigation partner Palmina Fava from Paul Hastings.

The firm also announced in February that it would be relocating its New York office from 666 5th Avenue near Rockefeller Center to occupy three floors in the Grace Building at 1114 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan.

“The goal, really, both short term and long term is to continue to build what Vinson & Elkins has already started to build very successfully in New York and continue to build out the practice here,” Duffy said.

In another departure from Boies Schiller announced Tuesday, litigation funder Validity Finance said it had hired Joshua Libling as portfolio counsel in New York. Libling was of counsel at Boies Schiller. Jenner & Block also announced on Tuesday it had hired Boies Schiller partner Douglass Mitchell.

As for Boies Schiller, the firm brought on former acting United States Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio in Washington late last year as well as Tracey Dovaston, the managing director and head of litigation investigations and enforcement for the Europe and the Middle East region at Barclays, in London.

(Updated with comments from Duffy throughout)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

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