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By the Numbers: Boutique Law Firms’ 10 High-Profile Gets in 2022

Dec. 29, 2022, 10:15 AM

Elite boutiques competing with Big Law behemoths loaded up on talent this year, as they turned to former prosecutors and other litigators to boost their ranks.

Trial-focused law firms stocked up on litigators with experience in hot practice areas like health care, antitrust and employment. They expanded their rosters as courts slogged through cases backlogged by Covid-19 stoppages.

Here are 10 lateral moves that highlight a banner year for boutiques.

Cipollone Hires Fielding

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone started the year by building out his law firm’s Washington office, hiring veteran GOP lawyer Fred Fielding.

The 81-year-old Fielding, who has worked in Republican administrations dating back to Richard Nixon, served as White House counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He also advised former President Donald Trump’s transition team, working on an effort to separate the then president-elect from his various businesses.

Fred Fielding
Ellis George Cipollone

Cipollone found himself in the spotlight this year as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol honed in on some of Trump’s top advisers.

Axinn Hires Attridge

James Attridge joined Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider’s DC office as a partner in September, after serving as chief of staff in the Justice Department’s antitrust division. He was one of several notable departures from the division over the year.

Attridge was an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom before joining the DOJ in 2017.

Wilkinson Stekloff Adds Arnold

Wilkinson in October poached Keri Arnold from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, an Am Law 50 firm with deep roots in the nation’s capital.

She has defended major pharmaceutical, energy, and tobacco companies in product liability and mass actions. Her clients have included Juul Labs, Altria Group Inc, and cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA.

Kaplan Hecker Hires Farhadian Weinstein, Morrison

Tali Farhadian Weinstein joined the firm in October in an of counsel role after an unsuccessful run for Manhattan District Attorney.

Tali Farhadian
Kaplan Hecker

She had a stint as counsel to Attorney General Eric Holder in the Obama administration and later was general counsel of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, where she helped lead its criminal justice reform efforts and created the nation’s first Post-Conviction Justice Bureau.

Trevor Morrison is the former dean of New York University School of Law, who held the leadership post for nearly a decade until stepping down earlier this year. He also joined Kaplan Hecker in an of counsel role and continues to teach at NYU.

Wiggin and Dana Hire Apicella, Lahny

Jolie Apicella, a former federal prosecutor, joined Wiggin and Dana as a partner in the firm’s litigation and health care groups. She was civil healthcare fraud chief in the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, and started her career as an associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Peter Lahny joined the boutique as a partner in its finance and lending practice group from Emmet, Marvin & Martin, where he was of counsel.

Continental Hires Kise

Christopher Kise is another notable Republican lawyer who was on the move in 2022, jumping to Florida’s Continental in October.

Christopher Kise
Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

The ex-Florida solicitor general left Foley & Lardner to join Trump’s defense team in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, a move that came with risk and the potential for reward.

He is a longtime lawyer to Republican Florida governors, including Gov. Ron DeSantis. Kise is one of several Continental lawyers with ties to DeSantis.

Wilkinson Stekloff Hires Hill

Grace Hill joined the DC litigation shop as a partner in March after serving as an Assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where she worked in the financial crimes and public corruption unit.

The Williams & Connolly alum has prosecuted a wide range of white-collar cases, including those involving bribery, public corruption, and fraud.

Scharf Banks Marmor Adds Rider

Scharf Banks Marmor, a women-owned corporate law firm based in Chicago, snagged Susan Rider as senior counsel after her two-decade career at Exelon Corp. Rider was most recently the energy company’s vice president and deputy general counsel for labor, employment & employee benefits.

Zuckerman Spaeder Welcomes Back Mehta

Caroline Mehta rejoined the boutique after a brief stint as general counsel and chief legal officer for artificial intelligence software company Afiniti.

Caroline Mehta
Zuckerman Spaeder

She was the first woman on Afiniti’s executive leadership team.

Mehta previously spent 20 years at Zuckerman as a white collar defense attorney in cases related to off-label promotion, anti-kickback statutes, and the False Claims Act.

Miller & Chevalier Hires Prasanna

Sandeep Prasanna joined the Washington-founded firm in December as a senior associate after working as investigative counsel for the Jan. 6 committee. He’s one of several committee lawyers who have resurfaced at law firms as the panel winds down.

He previously worked at the Justice Department, guiding presidential nominees through the Senate confirmation process, and as an adviser to Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tiana Headley at theadley@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com