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Wake Up Call: Gibson Dunn Grows Revenue 25th-Straight Year

Feb. 23, 2021, 2:10 PM

In today’s column, the Ethisphere Institute published its 15th annual list of the “world’s most ethical companies”; WilmerHale said it got back a former SEC deputy director to head its securities and financial services practice; Connecticut-based Robinson & Cole elected trial lawyer Rhonda J. Tobin as the first woman managing partner of the 175-year-old firm.

  • Leading off, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher posted its 25th consecutive increase in gross revenues in 2020, getting a 7.6% gain to $2.16 billion, while its average profits per equity partner rose 9.7% to $4.125 million, in its 24th straight year of profit gains. Chairman and Managing Partner Ken Doran said the firm’s philosophy of “sustainability” allowed it to avoid layoffs and pay cuts that other firms resorted to in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. (American Lawyer)
  • After record revenues in 2019, intellectual property firm Fish & Richardson saw gross revenue decline 4.4% to $451 million in 2020, while its average PEP shrank 2.1% to $1.98 million. (American Lawyer)
  • New Jersey-based Lowenstein Sandler said core practices including bankruptcy, capital markets, life sciences, and venture capital powered a 2% increase in gross revenues to $350.1 million, while its average PEP swelled 4.5% to $2.53 million. (New Jersey Law Journal)
  • The for-profit Ethisphere Institute Tuesday published its 15th annual list of the “world’s most ethical companies.” The institute said the 135 companies on this year’s list, across 22 countries and 47 industries, were evaluated on their ethics and compliance programs, corporate citizenship and responsibility, governance, leadership and reputation. (Worldsmostethicalcompanies.com)
  • As protests over George Floyd’s killing by police roiled the U.S. last year, Ethisphere announced that in-house attorneys and compliance professionals from companies including AT&T Inc., American International Group Inc., VF Corp. and Uber Techologies Inc. joined its new advisory council to find best practices for companies to advance equity and social justice. (Corporate Counsel)
  • Anglo Australian Big Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills is the latest of many Big Law firms that have recently created or expanded environmental, social and governance practices as clients increasingly seek such advice. (Global Legal Post)
  • Federal prosecutors offered a plea deal to the two New York attorneys charged with firebombing a vacant NYPD van during a Black Lives Matter protest in Brooklyn last summer, a report says. (New York Post)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general, said domestic terrorism is a greater threat than it has been for decades. (Bloomberg News via BLAW)
  • Connecticut-based Robinson & Cole elected trial lawyer Rhonda J. Tobin as the first woman managing partner of the 175-year-old firm, effective March 1. She’s spent her entire 30-year legal career at the firm. (RC.com)
  • Frost Brown Todd and Taft Stettinius & Hollister are the latest Midwestern law firms to set up offices in Washington, D.C. (National Law Journal)
  • Susman Godfrey, with co-counsel Pollock Cohen LLP, filed a proposed class action in L.A. federal court against PornHub parent company MindGeek, accusing it of violating federal sex trafficking and child pornography laws. (PRNewswire.com)

Laterals, Moves

  • WilmerHale said via email that former SEC enforcement chief Stephanie Avakian is returning to the firm as a partner and will lead the firm’s securities and financial services practice. When she joined the SEC in 2014, Avakian had been at the firm as a partner over 14 years, following an earlier stint at the agency as branch chief and counsel. (LinkedIn.com)
  • Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati added Ropes & Gray life sciences partner Mark Bellomy in Boston as a partner. He previously served as senior licensing counsel for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. (BLAW)
  • Latham & Watkins said Mayer Brown data & technology transactions lawyer Michelle Ontiveros Gross joined Latham’s San Francisco Bay Area offices as a partner. (LW.com)
  • DLA Piper hired Hogan Lovells satellite and communications lawyer Tony Lin as a partner in Washington in its telecom practice, part of its global IP and technology practice. (DLAPiper.com)
  • King & Spalding grabbed Shearman & Sterling securities regulation and financial services partner Russell Sacks as a partner in New York. (KSLaw.com)
  • Paul Hastings brought back former Wells Fargo & Co. healthcare finance executive Stacy Hopkins as finance counsel based in L.A. Before joining the bank in 2006, she’d been at the firm for about a decade, including one year as a partner. (PaulHastings.com)
  • Nixon Peabody added fund formation lawyer Richard Shamos as counsel in Los Angeles. According to his LinkedIn profile, Shamos has been in-house at an asset management firm, an associate at two Big Law firms, and was most recently counsel at Sadis & Goldberg in New York. (NixonPeabody.com)
  • Akerman added veteran franchise lawyer Robert Smith as a partner in Washington. He was previously a partner at Quarles & Brady before which he spent 26 years at Wiley Rein, including as its franchise group chair. (Akerman.com)
  • Foley & Lardner said business lawyer Michael Lappin, a former chief administrative officer and in-house leader at a health care nonprofit, is joining the firm as of counsel in Milwaukee in its transactions practice. Lappin earlier spent close to 17 years at Quarles & Brady. (Foley.com)
  • Alternative dispute resolution services provider JAMS said retired California county superior court judge Brian C. Walsh, who also spent 25 years as a litigator, joined its Silicon Valley panel. JAMS said retired Illinois Appellate Court judge John C. Griffin joined its Chicago panel. (JAMSadr.com)

In-House

  • Linklaters head of U.S. practices Tom Shropshire is leaving the firm to become general counsel and company secretary of drinks company Diageo PLC, taking over from the retiring Siobhán Moriarty. (BLAW)
  • Asian grocery delivery company Weee! Inc. hired former Netflix and eBay lawyer Thomas Jeon as general counsel and vice president. (BLAW)

Promotions

  • Squire Patton Boggs said it promoted 23 lawyers (nine women) to partner and five (two women) to principal across its offices worldwide. (SquirePattonBoggs.com)
  • Haynes and Boone promoted eight lawyers to counsel across six U.S. offices. (HaynesBoone.com)

Legal Education

  • The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates voted to support a resolution that urges federal lawmakers to take action to ease young lawyers’ student debt load. (ABAJournal)
  • The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is holding off on its threat to sue the California State Bar over its controversial plan to use facial recognition technology in its remote bar exam. (BLAW)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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