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August 20, 2008 1:28 PM

Thelen Loses Four Partners to Orrick

Posted by Nate Raymond

Weitzel The exodus continues at Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner after four energy and project finance partners in San Fransisco decamped for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

The departure of partners Thomas Glascock, Leslie Sherman, David Spielberg, and Mark Weitzel had been expected as early as July, and were first reported by sibling publication The Recorder. Still, on top of a wave of laterals--including name partners-- leaving, news of the moves certainly can't be welcome.

Weitzel (right), who previously chaired Thelen's project finance practice, says the move is "not at all" related to other Thelen departures and has everything to do with Orrick's platform. "Thelen is a wonderful firm, and I had many wonderful years there," he says.

The group, which focuses on renewable energy, brought work with them to Orrick, Weitzel says, and is already "very busy." Orrick sees the moves as a chance to gain a presence in the energy sector.

"The $6 trillion per year energy sector represents a tremendous growth opportunity for Orrick," Mark Levie, managing director of Orrick's transactional division, said in a statement.

A call to Thelen Reid was not immediately returned.

The Thelen departures follow that of name partner Richard Raysman last week for Otterbourg Steindler Houston & Rosen in New York. Name partner Peter Brown left with five practice heads for Baker & Hostetler in April. They both joined in late 2006 from the legacy Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner.

The firm has made it known that it is hoping to pursue another merger.

Meanwhile, Thelen announced today that two former partners are rejoining the firm. Jeffrey Cruz returns to the New York office from Bear Stearns's legal department, where he focused on construction and real estate. Melissa Callahan Lesmes joins in Washington, D.C. from Dietz Construction Group in Ashburn, Virginia.

"The timing couldn't be better," John Heisse Jr., chair of Thelen's construction and government contracts practice, said in a statement. "The construction insurance practice is busier than ever and there are a backlog of projects waiting to be handled."

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