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Wake Up Call: Debevoise Presiding Partner to Step Down in July

April 25, 2022, 12:46 PM

In today’s column, Greenberg Traurig poached a six-partner real estate finance team from Winston & Strawn, including two co-leaders of the practice, and it opened a new office in Charlotte, North Carolina; around 40 lawyers who were working for Eversheds Sutherland in Russia have launched a new firm there; crypto exchanges and companies are grabbing lawyers from rival companies and law firms.

  • Leading off, Debevoise & Plimpton’s presiding partner, Michael Blair, is stepping down in July after 41 years at the firm, including 11 as its leader. Taking his place as presiding partner is the firm’s tax department co-chair Peter Furci, while Nicole Mesard, corporate department deputy chair, will serve as deputy presiding partner, a report says. (American Lawyer)
  • Around 40 lawyers who had been working for Eversheds Sutherland’s Russia offices have started a new firm, Birch Legal, along with all staff from their former firm, a report says. Eversheds Sutherland in March joined other Big Law firms exiting Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. (The Lawyer)
  • Growing crypto exchanges and companies are hiring attorneys away from law firms and rival crypto companies to boost their in-house teams, as they look to get help facing a fast-evolving regulatory picture but also to cut their legal bills, the Journal reports. It says legal salaries for in-house crypto attorneys are increasing faster than in the overall in-house market, especially for senior level jobs. (WSJ)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • American lawyer James Zimmerman, a Perkins Coie partner who’s worked in China fo 24 years and is a four-time chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, described his experience in 37 days of Covid quarantine in the country. (Forbes)
  • A rebound in Orlando-headquartered GrayRobinson’s real estate and litigation practices helped it reach a record $156.8 million in revenues, up 3.2%, in its fiscal year ending August 31, 2021. Its average profits per equity partner jumped 17.4% to $567,000. (Daily Business Review)
  • A Florida lawyer who didn’t notify his clients of $15,000 in settlement funds, paid himself with that money, and later sued those clients for alleged breach of contract got disbarred. (Miami Herald)
  • A Florida court upheld the dismissal of a law graduate’s complaint that her former school expelled her because she was a Trump supporter. (Daily Business Review) Former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis is getting flak from conservatives for supporting Disney’s right to criticize Florida’s new “Don’t Say Gay” law. (Newsweek)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Greenberg Traurig said Monday that it has poached a six-partner real estate finance team from Winston & Strawn as shareholders and opened a new office in Charlotte, North Carolina, it’s 43rd location worldwide.
  • The group includes Winston’s global real estate practice head Corey Tessler in New York City and Bridgehampton, New York, and shareholder Michael Moser in White Plains, New York, who’ll become co-chairs of Greenberg’s real estate finance group. They’re joined by shareholder Jarrid King, in White Plains, and Brian Smetana and Christine Spletzer in Garden City, Long Island, New York. Brian Bailey is joining as managing shareholder of Greenberg’s new Charlotte, North Carolina office. Greenberg said it expects more team members to join “in the near future,” with some “ultimately” present in Miami and Los Angeles. (
  • Armstrong Teasdale added four attorneys. Corporate and M&A partner Gregory Ramos and corporate and technology transactions partner Cody Barela joined in Denver and corporate and M&A counsel Shannon Dunham in St. Louis. All three joined from Sherman & Howard. Employment and commercial litigator Michael Freimannjoined as a partner from Greenspoon Marder in Denver.


  • Miller & Chevalier said it teamed up with with nine Latin American law firms to launch a digital platform, ComplianceLatam, for users to exchange ideas for regional companies to establish best compliance practices, corporate governance structures and strong organizational foundations. (

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at

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