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Wake Up Call: Lawyers Switched Firms at Record Pace in 2021

March 31, 2022, 12:36 PM

In today’s column, Simpson Thacher’s London revenue jumped 43% in 2021; Morrison & Foerster goes to work for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy; Manatt said “efficiency” and “discipline” helped power its profits per equity partner up 35% last year.

  • Leading off, nearly 7,700 attorneys jumped firms last year. The 111% increase in lateral moves came after the pandemic caused a 30% drop in moves in 2020. It’s the biggest one-year gain since the National Association for Law Placement began tracking moves two decades ago. (
  • Morrison & Foerster partner John Smith is advising the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Western sanctions against Moscow that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Reuters) Greenberg Traurig said it’s taking on Ukrainian associates from Kyiv law firm Avellum, initially through secondments to Greenberg’s offices in London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. ( Some U.K. lawyers say their sector is getting unfairly criticized for continuing to work for Russian clients. (Financial News)
  • The number of Big Law partners earning “eight-figure pay” pay is expanding. (Business Insider)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, an integrated professional services and law firm, says the firm’s “efficient and disciplined” approach helped push its average profits per equity partner up 35.3% to $2.08 million in 2021, according to its CEO and managing partner. The firm’s gross revenue climbed 9.5% to $368.8 million, as its overall headcount shrank 9.9% to 270 lawyers. (The Recorder)
  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s London revenues rocketed 43%, adding over $100 million, in 2021, a report says. (The Lawyer)
  • Eversheds Sutherland is opening an office in San Francisco, grabbing Morgan Lewis & Bockius transactional attorney Baird Fogel to be its office partner in charge. Eversheds Sutherland’s West Coast technology lead, data privacy partner Brandi Taylor, is relocating from San Diego to the new San Francisco office. (Eversheds)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Seyfarth Shaw added three partners and one senior counsel. Blank Rome real estate attorney Seth Liebenstein and Ogletree Deakins immigration attorney Jacob Cherry joined Seyfarth’s New York office as partners. Joining Cherry in Seyfarth’s labor & employment department from Ogletree, immigration attorney Andrea Davis arrived as senior counsel in Charlotte, North Carolina. In Washington, Hunton Andrews Kurth employment attorney Christy Kiely joined as a partner in Seyfarth’s labor & employment department and people analytics practice group; Seyfarth lost commercial and trade secret litigator Erik Weibust, who joined Epstein Becker Green as a partner in Boston; Gibson Dunn added two lawyers in London. Private equity, M&A and capital markets lawyer Cason Moore, previously at Vinson & Elkins, joined as of counsel. Slaughter and May antitrust and competition attorney Jessica Staples joined as of counsel. (
  • Buchalter added three white collar and investigations attorneys. Former Arizona Acting United States Attorney Anthony Martin joined as of counsel in Scottsdale. Former Greenberg Gross litigator Adam Sechooler, recently a federal law clerk, joined as special counsel, and Greenberg Gross associate Arielle Seidman joined in Orange County, California; Dykema got former oil and gas industry in-house attorney Michael Kennington as senior counsel in its commercial litigation practice Houston. (
  • Intel Corporation vice president for legal Shelley Webb took a job at legal operations management company PagerDuty, Inc. as senior vice president and general counsel; Boulder, Colorado-based quantum technology company ColdQuanta hired former Lockheed Martin associate general counsel Prateek Lal as general counsel. He was recently deputy GC at space company Momentus. (BizWest) Kansas City-based Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Co. promoted its general counsel of five years, Shellie Clausen, to vice president and general manager of hometown operations. (Kansas City Business Journal)

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