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Wake Up Call: Repro Rights Group Hires Ex-Debevoise Partner as First GC

Feb. 25, 2020, 1:38 PM

In today’s column, Gibson Dunn topped $2 billion revenues for the first time in its 24th straight year of growth; Debevoise, Duane Morris, and Baker Botts also reported results; while some law firms in Italy are restricting staff movement because of the coronavirus outbreak; a litigation finance firm’s general counsel is set to teach a class at Baylor’s law school; and U.K. firm Ashurst opened its third U.S. office in Los Angeles.

  • Leading off, former Debevoise & Plimpton partner and general counsel Andy Sommer, who was on that firm’s management committee and managed its London office for several years, has joined the Center for Reproductive Rights as its first general counsel. Sommer spent 35 years at Debevoise, which is a pro bono partner of the center. ( (LinkedIn)

  • Debevoise said substantial growth in demand, especially from tech and health care industry clients, powered its third-straight year of double-digit revenue and profit growth in 2019. (American Lawyer)

  • In a “fabulous year” for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the L.A.-founded firm’s gross revenues jumped 10.4% to top the $2 billion mark for the first time, in its 24th-straight year of revenue growth. Profits per equity partner climbed 12.4% to $3.76 million. (American Lawyer)

  • Duane Morris, headed for merger in New York, grew revenues 3.8% to $510.3 million last year, while its average PEP gained 5.1%, reaching $1.06 million. (Legal Intelligencer)

  • After two years of revenue declines, Baker Botts had a 10.7% increase in revenue to $751.1 million in 2019, but average PEP fell 3.5%. Still, the firm said business was good. (Texas Lawyer)

  • As Italy contends with an outbreak of coronavirus cases, some Italian law firms have restricted staff movement. ( International)

  • U.K. firm Ashurst opened an office in Los Angeles, led by former Tokyo-based partner Anna Hermelin. The new office, in Santa Monica, the firm’s third in the U.S., will focus mainly on projects and project finance work in the transport and social infrastructure sectors. (

  • Cornerstone OnDemand Inc., a Cooley client that makes people development software, agreed to acquire Saba, a talent experience software maker advised by Paul Hastings, for about $1.4 billion. Saba is a portfolio company of Vector Capital. ( (

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Holland & Knight appointed Miami-based partner José Sirven to lead the firm’s 550-plus lawyer business section, which includes corporate transactions, finance and financial services, and private wealth services. Sirven most recently co-chaired its firmwide financial services practice group. (

  • A former HBO in-house leader and intellectual property attorney, Viviane Eisenberg, joined New York law firm Moses & Singer. Eisenberg, who left HBO in 2018, was executive vice president and chief counsel of global distribution, programming, branding, and consumer privacy at the network. She joined the law firm as of counsel and a member of its entertainment/media and technology/intellectual property practice groups. (

  • Chicago-based litigation finance company Longford Capital Management said its co-founder, general counsel, and managing director, William P. Farrell, Jr., will be teaching a course on litigation finance at Baylor University School of Law, in Waco, Texas. The class is part of the school’s LL.M. program in litigation management. (Longford Capital)

  • Cozen O’Connor poached Greenberg Traurig litigator Danielle N. Garno to be chair of its retail industry team and lead of its fashion, beauty, and luxury goods practice, as a member based in its Miami office. (

  • Faegre Drinker, recently created from the merger of Minneapolis-based Faegre Baker Daniels and Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath, added experienced corporate M&A partner Gregory Hall in Denver. He arrives from the Phoenix office of DLA Piper. (


  • Tengram Capital Partners, advised by Dechert, said it is acquiring the hair care and skin cleansing business of bankrupt High Ridge Brands Co., in a deal subject to bankruptcy court approval. (Yahoo! Finance)


  • A report by New York-based Seward & Kissel offers a snap-shot look at how six states address limitations on noncompete agreements, which it says affect as many as 60 million U.S. private sector workers, as nearly 50% of employers use the agreements for at least some of their employees. (

Laterals, Moves

  • Sheppard Mullin said it expanded its transactional practice on the East Coast, adding former Holland & Knight tax lawyer Claudia L. Hinsch as a partner in the firm’s tax, employee benefits, and trusts and estates practice group in Washington. She is the sixth lateral partner to join the firm in 2020, it said. (

  • Hogan Lovells poached Milbank finance lawyer Ben Garcia in New York as a partner. (

  • Hinshaw & Culbertson said its consumer financial services practice added a five-lawyer team from McGlinchey Stafford in New York. The team is led by partner Brian McGrath, who led McGlinchey’s consumer finance litigation team and served as managing partner of its New York office. The team also includes partner Victor Matthews and associates Ashley R. Newman, Ronald Park, and Mitra Singh. (

  • K&L Gates’ Seattle office added in-house veteran Christopher Bellavia as a corporate partner. A former Wilson Sonsini lawyer, he was recently general counsel and corporate secretary at consumer goods and lifestyle brand company Bulletproof 360, Inc., and previously was GC at Fisher Communications, Inc., and assistant GC at Washington Mutual, Inc. (

  • K&L Gates’ Miami office grabbed Foley & Lardner health care partner Myla R. Reizen as a partner in its global health care practice. (

  • Seyfarth got health care insurance litigator Kathy P. Josephson as a partner in its Chicago office. She was previously a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman. (

  • New York-based Warshaw Burstein hired real estate litigator Ally Hack, who arrives from Cozen O’Connor. (

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • With Harvey Weinstein heading for jail, the fallen movie producer’s lawyers quickly outlined an appeal of his sexual assault conviction. Meanwhile, the verdict could open the door for more women to trust the courts with their accounts of attacks by powerful men. (BN)

Legal Education

  • The dean of the University of Florida School of Law Laura Rosenbury has had success boosting the stature of the school. However, a recent faculty evaluation suggests she’s a “polarizing” figure among the staff, Above The Law reports. (Above The Law)

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at