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March 14, 2011 4:33 PM

Howrey's Houston Head Speaks As More Partners Leave Firm

Posted by Brian Baxter

Howrey, a firm founded 55 years ago, is officially set to dissolve on Tuesday, March 15, after a final partnership vote was held last week.

In announcing its dissolution, Howrey said a group of partners, associates, and staff would be joining Winston & Strawn in Houston. In an interview Monday with Texas Lawyer, a sibling publication, the managing partner of Howrey's Houston office, Stephen Cagle, spoke about the moves.

Cagle expects most of Howrey's current operations in Houston to become part of Winston. At least two partners from Howrey's Houston operations will not be part of the move. Henry "Hank" Petri and Janelle Waack announced last week they would join local IP firm Novak Druce + Quigg.

Of the 45 Houston-based lawyers that will be joining Winston, 16 are partners, Cagle said. He noted that lawyers from other Howrey offices also might be joining Winston--the two firms had been talking for some time--but he declined to speculate on the number or identities of those individuals.

Howrey's Houston office primarily handles IP and civil litigation, Cagle told Texas Lawyer, adding that Winston was a good fit for his IP group because the firm presents cross-selling opportunities to potential clients in industries like pharmaceuticals and financial institutions.

"It's a fine, fine firm and a good expansion of practice areas for us," Cagle said. "We give them some IP and a location in Houston, access to some energy clients, and they give us access to some clients we haven't been able to service in the past."

Cagle noted that most of Howrey's lawyers in Houston have practiced together since they were part of IP firm Arnold, White & Durkee, which merged with what was then Howrey & Simon in January 2000. The combined firm shortened its name to Howrey in 2005. Cagle declined to comment on any of the reasons or factors leading up to Howrey's dissolution.

In other announced Howrey partner moves ...

Construction litigation partners David Mancini and James Newland, Jr., are joining Seyfarth Shaw in Washington, D.C. Both lawyers have handled a variety of construction-related cases.

"As the construction industry rebounds along with the economy, so will litigation and the need for dispute resolution," said Seyfarth Shaw construction practice chair Richard McKim Preston in a statement announcing the two hires. "With the addition of David and James, we are in a good position to capture our share of that work."

Dewey & LeBoeuf also officially confirmed its expected hires of three additional antitrust partners from Howrey. M.J. Moltenbrey, Mark Schechter, and Jacqueline Grise will join Dewey in Washington this week. The trio will find a familiar face at their new firm in Roxann Henry, a former top antitrust litigator at Howrey that joined Dewey in early March.

"Together, these core lawyers, with years of experience in some of the most significant and substantial mergers, acquisitions, behavioral and cartel matters, will add immeasurably to Dewey's already vibrant and dynamic antitrust practice," said a statement by Dewey antitrust practice cochair A. Paul Victor.

The Washington Post reports on how Howrey's demise has opened the door in the antitrust arena for other Am Law 200 firms like Dewey, Covington & Burling, and Arnold & Porter, all of whom have recently made hires seeking to capitalize on Howrey's antitrust expertise.

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