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Wake Up Call: Sanford Heisler Delays Reopening to January

Sept. 2, 2021, 12:23 PM

In today’s column, Willkie is reportedly opening an L.A. office with three senior lawyers grabbed from Venable; McDermott is back in Asia with a new Singapore office; and as the talent war rages, counteroffers are persuading more lateral hires to back out of job acceptances.

  • Leading off, litigation boutique Sanford Heisler Sharp on Wednesday told its roughly 100 lawyers and support personnel it is delaying its return to the office until Jan. 10, 2022. The firm was among the first to announce earlier this year that it would require employees to be vaccinated when they return to the office. In a firmwide email viewed by Bloomberg Law, firm leaders attributed the delay to a surge in deaths caused by Delta-variant Covid-19. Sanford’s announcement comes as the Delta surge is raising doubts about many Big Law law firms’ plans to reopen in late September or early October. (BLAW)
  • The Recorder talked to medical epidemiologist Kavita Trivedi about how she’s advising law firms, judges, and clerks on how to “co-habitate” with Covid. (The Recorder) A Wisconsin federal judge told lawyers he will require all attorneys, parties, and necessary witnesses to submit proof of vaccination 14 days before appearing in court. (Wisconsin Examiner)
  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher reportedly poached “at least” three lawyers from Venable to launch an office in Los Angeles. The lawyers represent celebrities and their families in court, in business deals, and on wealth management matters. (Business Insider) McDermott Will & Emery, which exited Shanghai last year, is back in Asia after opening a Singapore office. (Global Legal Post)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • More lateral hires are reversing their acceptance of job offers as Big Law talent wars spawn lucrative counteroffers, a legal recruiter says. (
  • Skadden litigator Barry Garfinkel, the last attorney at the firm to have known and worked with all five name partners Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, died Aug. 29 at age 93. (Above The Law)
  • Big Law and regional firms are teaming up in an initiative to fight racism in the Carolinas. (American Lawyer)
  • Gunmakers hired law firms Jones Day, Cozen O’Connor, and Day Pitney for their collective defense against a lawsuit filed by Mexico. (Reuters)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Blank Rome hired finance and restructuring lawyers Cassandra Mott and Sarah Frazier as partners in Houston. They arrive from Holland & Knight and were partners at Thompson & Knight before those firms recently merged; K&L Gates added restructuring and insolvency lawyer Brian Kilmer as a partner in Houston; O’Melveny & Myers got trial lawyer Timothy Durst as a partner in its recently opened Dallas office. Durst arrives after 34 years at Baker Botts, where he was recently Dallas office partner-in-charge; Reed Smith hired finance and restructuring lawyer Kathleen Garrett as a partner in London. (The Lawyer)
  • FisherBroyles added two partners in Los Angeles: veteran Asia-focused commercial litigator Larry Schmadeka and intellectual property litigator David Makous. Both arrive from L.A. boutique Lee Hong Degerman Kang & Waimey, which has a large Korea-focused practice; Crowell & Moring added IP lawyer Sari Depreeuw in Brussels. She arrives from Brussels-based Daldewolf, where she co-headed the IP-digital team; Weil, Gotshal & Manges snagged Proskauer Rose partner John Barry to lead its employment litigation practice. At Proskauer, Barry was both labor & employment law department operating partner and co-head of the non-compete and trade secrets group. (
  • Schulte Roth banking regulatory group co-chair leader Joseph Vitale jumped to Fried Frank as a partner based in New York and Washington; Schulte also lost private equity and M&A lawyer Andrew Fadale, who joined Milbank as a partner in New York; former Pillsbury corporate and securities lawyer Timothy Gladden, most recently at hybrid firm Rimon, P.C., joined Davis+Gilbert LLP as a partner in New York; Norton Rose Fulbright recruited former federal reserve staff attorney Tim Byrne in New York as a global investigations partner. He arrives from Shearman & Sterling, where he was counsel. (
  • Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. promoted general counsel, asset management and broker-dealer Ann-Marie Mason to chief legal officer. (


  • Enterprise workflow automation provider Onit acquired Bodhala, an artificial intelligence-powered legal spend analytics company. (Above The Law)

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at