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August 19, 2009 3:14 PM

Alaska, Ho! Crowell Raids Patton Boggs, Sets Up in Anchorage

Posted by Zach Lowe

John Martin has always ignored phone calls from headhunters who wanted to know if he had any interest in leaving his spot as cochair of the environmental practice at Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C. But when two former Patton Boggs colleagues called him about a chance to join the environmental practice at their new firm--Crowell & Moring--Martin found himself listening. 

"I really wasn't looking for a job," Martin says. "But when they called, I had to respond."

By "they," Martin means Peter Robertson and Elliott Laws, Crowell partners who also spent time as government environmental lawyers. (Both moved to Crowell from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in 2008.)

Flash forward a few months, and Martin is joining Crowell's D.C. office and taking four other Patton Boggs lawyers with him. One of those lawyers is Kyle Parker, a partner in Patton Boggs's Anchorage office who will run the new office Crowell is opening in the Alaskan city, which has long been a Patton Boggs stronghold.

The bulk of Martin's work is representing companies that extract natural resources against challenges from regulatory agencies or environmental groups. He also advises various industry groups, including the American Petroleum Institute.

That should fit well with Crowell's environmental practice since the firm represents the mining giant Rio Tinto and industry groups like the National Mining Association and the National Pork Producers Council. 

Martin won't disclose how many clients have agreed to follow him to Crowell, but says Crowell already has a long client list. "We won't be wanting for work," he says.

A Patton Boggs spokeswoman told our colleagues at The National Law Journal that the firm is "sorry" to see Martin and the others go, but that "the core of our environmental group remains strong."

Along with the five Patton Boggs lawyers, Crowell has also recruited two government lawyers to boost its environmental practice: Robert Meyers, a former high-ranking lawyer in the Environmental Protection Agency, and Michael Bogert, who served as counselor to Dirk Kempthorne, the Secretary of the Interior during the final years of the George W. Bush administration. 

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