Gibson Dunn Taps Local Attorney for Managing Partner

LAW
by Amanda Bronstad

Kenneth Doran has taken the helm as managing partner of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, L.A.'s second largest law firm by revenue, third largest in attorneys.

Doran, based in Los Angeles and co-head of the firm's transactions practice group, replaces New York-based Wesley Howell Jr., who had been managing partner since 1997. Howell and Ron Beard, former firm chairman, announced they would leave their posts in December. Doran, 46, said the roles of chairman and managing partner would be combined.

A member of the firm since 1980, Doran most recently served on both the management and executive committees. He will lead a century-old firm that posted 2001 revenues of $537 million and profits per partner of $1.1 million, up 14.5 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively, from 2000.

Beard held both positions until 1997, when Howell, who remains on the management committee, became managing partner.

Dean Kitchens, an L.A. litigation partner who was rumored to be a potential candidate for managing partner, will join the management committee, Doran said.

The 800-attorney firm, which has 11 offices worldwide, has consistently ranked among national leaders in revenues and profits. American Lawyer magazine's AM Law 100 ranked Gibson Dunn No. 22 nationwide in profits in 2001.

It had been anticipated that Gibson Dunn would elect an L.A. partner, though Doran said geography is not a factor in the firm's management. "I've always spent a fair amount of time in New York," he said. "I find geography less and less important. I don't think the fact that I'm in L.A. or in New York signals anything of import within the firm."

Gone from Global

Is this really a surprise?

Brian McCarthy, general counsel of Pacific Capital Group Inc., the investment firm headed by Global Crossing Ltd. co-founder and Chairman Gary Winnick, returned to Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP's L.A. office as a corporate partner this month.

McCarthy served as managing director, general counsel and executive committee member at Pacific Capital for less than two years.

He said he left because of the distractions associated with Global Crossing, the fiber optic company that filed the fourth largest bankruptcy in history Jan. 28 and is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"A lot of (Winnick's) time has been focused on Global Crossing," McCarthy said. "Secondly, in terms of investment opportunities in the next year or so, I think it's going to be difficult, particularly when Pacific Capital has to work through the Global Crossing issues."

McCarthy, who was one of the four original partners to open the Skadden Arps office in 1983, had been with the firm for 22 years before being recruited by Pacific Capital, a 15-year client. In 1999, he represented Global Crossing in its acquisition of Frontier Corp.



Staff reporter Amanda Bronstad can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 225, or at abronstad@labusinessjournal.com.

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