The Talent

March 8, 2011 7:03 PM

With Dissolution Vote Approaching, More Howrey Departures

Posted by Julie Triedman

Additional reporting by Nate Raymond and Tom Huddleston Jr.


In the wake of reports of a likely dissolution vote to be taken this week by Howrey's partners, departures from the firm continue.

Perkins Coie, Dickstein Shapiro, and Novak Druce + Quigg confirmed Tuesday that they were bringing on seven partners from Howrey in Palo Alto and Houston. Another partner in Washington, D.C., has received an offer from Perkins, according to the firm.

The latest moves include four IP litigation partners in Howrey's Palo Alto office who are moving to Perkins Coie. The four are James Valentine, Daniel Shvodian, Christopher Kelley, and James Pistorino. Perkins Coie's chief lateral recruitment officer, Karen Andersen, confirms that an offer also has been extended to a fifth Howrey partner, Margaret Macdonald, who is based in Washington, D.C.

With the additions of the four lawyers in Palo Alto, Perkins Coie now has more than 75 patent litigators and more than 200 attorneys in its IP practice as a whole, Perkins Bay area managing partner Ed Wes said in a statement.

Another Palo Alto-based attorney, Krista Carter, has left Howrey for Dickstein Shapiro. She joined the firm March 1 and, along with former Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe partners Deborah Fishman and Jeffrey Miller, is opening a Silicon Valley office for the firm.

In Houston, partners Henry Petri and Janelle Waack have joined intellectual property firm Novak Druce + Quigg, a firm founded in 2004 by former Howrey partners. In a phone interview with The Am Law Daily, Petri describes himself and Waack as the "outliers" of Howrey's 19-partner Houston office, which has not seen the raft of defections plaguing other parts of the firm. Petri had an offer from Novak in January but, he says, he stuck around "to wrap up things there."

Waack's decision to move was more recent, and came about as a result of the talks between Howrey and Winston. "When the situation came up with Howrey and the potential integration with Winston & Strawn, it just became apparent there were some conflict issues I'd have to deal with," she says.

Waack, who specializes in patent interference, says she typically represents branded pharmaceutical companies. Winston, in contrast, is known for its work representing generics. "Even though I don't have a direct conflict, I can see where that was headed," Waack says.

The Houston office originated from Howrey's 2000 merger with Texas's Arnold, White & Durkee, where Petri and Waack had been working. Petri says the office's "great woking environment and great practice" might explain why defections have not hit the outpost as they have other Howrey offices. "People there just like working together," he says.

The latest departures have left Howrey a shadow of its former self. In April 2010 the firm listed 297 partners and of counsel on a document prepared for the firm's annual partnership meeting; the document was provided to The Am Law Daily by a former partner. In less than a year, 141 of those listed have left the firm, according to an analysis by The Am Law Daily.

A spokeswoman for Howrey declined to comment.


CLICK HERE for Howrey Scorecard: Where Have All the Lawyers Gone?, our chart tracking partner departures from April 2010 through Wednesday, March 9, 2011.

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