The Churn

November 29, 2011 4:13 PM

The Churn: Lateral Moves and Promotions in The Am Law 200

Posted by Sara Randazzo

Correction, 11/29/11, 11:45 p.m. EST: The original version of this story included incorrect information about the sentences given to two men convicted of crimes during John Owens's tenure as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of California. The third paragraph below has been revised to include the correct information. We regret the errors.

Munger, Tolles & Olson, which typically promotes from within to fill its partnership ranks, has hired lateral partner JOHN OWENS from the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego.

Owens, currently the chief of the criminal division for the Southern District of California, will join Munger's litigation group on January 3. At the U.S. attorney's office, Owens oversees all criminal investigations and prosecutions in the California's Southern District, as well as more than 100 assistant U.S. attorneys.

Owens's recent prosecutorial experience, which has focused on white-collar crime, includes securing trial verdicts resulting in a 30-year sentence for convicted Ponzi schemer Thanh Viet Cao and a 108-month sentence for investment adviser Mark Hauze, who was convicted of bilking clients out of millions of dollars.

Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Owens worked as an associate at O'Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C., and held two clerkships, including one for U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In other Churn news . . .

HUGH CONROY, JR., has left a position as associate general counsel and managing director in Citigroup's bank regulatory office to join Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as counsel based in New York. As a member of the firm's global banking and financial institutions practice, Conroy will advise U.S. and international banking clients on issues related to regulatory reform.

DLA Piper has tapped two new partners for its Beijing office. JOHN SHI and NICOLAS GROFFMAN will be joining the firm's Greater China practice from Mallesons Stephen Jaques. The new additions both specialize in mergers and acquisitions and other corporate work. Shi's client base spans industries including financial services, oil and gas, publishing and media, mining, aviation, and pharmaceuticals. Groffman focuses on China foreign direct investment and compliance work, often for clients in the telecommunications and media, real estate, climate change, and clean energy sectors.

The newest arrival in Haynes and Boone's New York office is ROBERT GORZELANY, previously with Seward & Kissel. Gorzelany is now of counsel in the real estate practice, concentrating on commercial leasing in New York City and other major U.S. cities.

Corporate lawyer MARIA SENDRA has left Baker & McKenzie to become a partner at Jones Day in San Diego. Sendra, part of the private equity practice, advises clients on initial public offerings, SEC compliance, mergers and acquisitions, complex licensing, corporate alliances, and other transactions.

BERND BOHR is relocating from New York, where he worked at Allen & Overy, to the London office of Mayer Brown. Bohr, a corporate and securities partner, is tasked with helping to expand Mayer Brown's U.S. mergers and acquisitions and capital markets practice in Europe. His own practice focuses on SEC-registered securities offerings and public and private M&A transactions.

Morrison & Foerster has added SHARON PARELLA, previously with Katten Muchin Rosenman, as a partner in New York. Parella represents financial institutions and other financial services companies on all aspects of employment law, including defending employers against discrimination, compensation, and other lawsuits; advising on employment issues related to mergers and acquisitions; and counseling on the hire of U.S. employees abroad and foreign employees working in the U.S.

Nixon Peabody has hired ARETA KUPCHYK from Reed Smith for its Washington, D.C., office. Kupchyk, who joins as partner, has parlayed 18 years of experience working at the Food and Drug Administration into a practice advising on FDA regulation of drugs, medical devices, biologics, and biotechnology products.

MARK PETERSON is rejoining O'Melveny & Myers, where he worked as an associate in the 1990s, as a partner in the Newport Beach, California, office. Peterson most recently spent three years as general counsel of semiconductor company Conexant Systems, which he left in May after leading the company through an acquisition. He has also served as general counsel of Targus Group International and Meade Instruments, which he helped take public while at O'Melveny. In his return to private practice, Peterson will contribute to the mergers and acquisitions practice within the transactions department.

Perkins Coie has brought on MICHAEL DUNNING as of counsel in its Seattle office from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. For the past 11 years, Dunning has served as assistant attorney general representing the state's Department of Ecology. His practice at Perkins will focus on cases concerning air and water quality, and shorelines and hazardous waste cleanup in state and federal court and before administrative boards.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has hired trial lawyer STEPHEN SWEDLOW as a partner in its Chicago office. Swedlow, who joins from plaintiffs firm Korein Tillery, primarily works in the areas of intellectual property, class action, and complex commercial litigation. Earlier in his career, he spent five years at Latham & Watkins.

The Churn is compiled from law firm releases and announcements. Moves based on our own reporting will note this. Please send all announcements and news releases to

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