Bloomberg Law
Jan. 25, 2023, 1:21 PM

Wake Up Call: SGR, Freeborn Merger to Create 400 Lawyer Firm

Rick Mitchell
Rick Mitchell
Freelance Correspondent

Welcome to Bloomberg Law’s Wake Up Call, a daily rundown of the top news for lawyers, law firms, and in-house counsel.

  • Two more law firms joined the list of post pandemic mergers. Atlanta-founded Smith Gambrell & Russell and Chicago firm Freeborn & Peters announced they’re merging March 1 to create a new firm named Smith Gambrell Russell. The new firm, with strong transactional and litigation platforms, will have close to 400 attorneys across 14 US and international offices. (Businesswire)
  • Meanwhile, merger talks between transatlantic giant Hogan Lovells and New York-headquartered Shearman & Sterling are apparently moving ahead. Management from the two firms reportedly met in New York and London to discuss a merger that could create a firm with thousands of lawyers and billions of global revenues. ( International via American Lawyer) Shearman’s also reportedly talking with Texas-based Baker Botts on what would be a smaller merger. (BLAW)
  • A Manhattan federal judge told Greenberg Traurig attorneys who represented Kanye West they’ll have to keep using traditional means to notify him that they’ve dropped him as a client. The attorneys had argued they can’t find the rapper and should be allowed to try alternative means, such as newspaper ads, to reach him. West now goes by the name Ye. (Reuters)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Amidst mounting economic uncertainty for companies, fewer chief legal officers are looking to increase hiring of in-house attorneys or send more work to outside attorneys, according to the Association of Corporate Counsel’s latest annual chief legal officers survey report. The ACC surveyed 892 CLOs in 20 industries across 35 countries. (
  • A new program at transatlantic firm Bryan Cave lets associates who hit certain bonus targets become eligible to get billable hours credit for a week’s vacation. Associates that meet the “highest bonus eligibility target” can also get “cash vacation bonuses.” (Legal Cheek)
  • Stradley Ronon said its executive director since 1991, Gillian Facher, is stepping down and will now serve as the firm’s partner acquisitions officer. Former deputy executive director and partner Marissa Parker succeeds Facher as chief operating officer. The firm hired Morgan Lewis counsel Sarah Andrews as director of knowledge management. Stradley’s director of operations, Janet Roedell, is now chief administrative officer. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders hired back a former associate at the firm, Melissa Hatch O’Donnell, who’s spent nearly four years in-house at health care and insurance giant Cigna. She specializes in antitrust, False Claims Act, public nuisance, and other complex civil litigation, and returns as a partner in the firm’s health sciences litigation practice group in Philadelphia, which lost a big group to Goodwin Procter earlier this month. (
  • Kirkland & Ellis’ Munich, Germany-based financial restructuring partner Josef Parzinger is moving to Allen & Overy. (
  • Kramer Levin picked up K&L Gates fund formation attorney Robert Bendiner Weiss as a partner in New York in its investment management practice. (
  • Eckert Seamans added commercial litigation attorney Nicholas Pasalides as a member in White Plains, New York. Eckert also promoted senior human resources director Myra Kilgore to chief human resources officer and senior information technology director Bob Trosky to chief information officer. They’re both in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (
  • Day Pitney hired trusts and estates lawyer Michael Schwartz as a partner in its private client department in New York. He joins from Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle, where he was co-chair of the trusts and estates group. (
  • Ciena Corporation, a networking systems, services, and software company, promoted its longtime senior vice president and general counsel, David Rothenstein, to senior vice president, chief strategy officer, and corporate secretary. Deputy general counsel Sheela Kosaraju takes over as the company’s SVP, general counsel, and assistant secretary. (Businesswire)


  • Legal tech firms Moxo and Filevine said they’re teaming up on a platform for streamlined client service and case management. (PR Newswire)

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