Three Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP attorneys have left the firm with big plans for a small shingle. Ryan G. Baker, Jaime W. Marquart and Daryl M. Crone have left Quinn to start their own shop, Baker Marquart & Crone LLP. They will focus on complex commercial litigation and case values of about $2 million to $3 million, amounts typically below Quinn's radar.
"I came to Quinn five years ago and it was about half the size it is now," Baker said. "There was more of a collegial feel. The case size has increased dramatically. There are a lot of huge cases at Quinn, so you'll stare at one tree in the forest for years."
The three associates were all up for partner at the firm, where equity partners made an average of $1.65 million last year. Their new billing rates will be about 30 percent less, just under $300 an hour. Quinn's marketing director, Renee Travlos, has also joined the new venture.
"I think a lot of us looked down the road at the partnership opportunity and it seemed like we wouldn't get the experience I thought I'd get as an associate," Baker said.
They're leaving their old firm on good terms, Baker said. They've received a handful of referrals from Quinn. The trio anticipated six quiet months at the beginning of the firm, but they've been busy since they opened in late June.
Baker said he and his partners anticipate a better work-life balance when things get more settled. They spent a recent Sunday painting their new West-L.A. office. They were able to drink mimosas, however.
When employment firm Proskauer Rose LLP sought a more meaningful experience for summer associates, they looked to their newest office in New Orleans, which opened in October of 2004.
"You will hear many firms tell you about pro bono efforts and the things that are important besides the crass making of money," said Howard Shapiro, managing partner at the New Orleans office. "But Proskauer's pro bono efforts are unparalleled."
This weekend, four summer associates from Los Angeles will head to the bayou to help Habitat for Humanity International build a house in Slidell, La., a hurricane-whacked suburb a little north of New Orleans. The associates will join 48 others from Proskauer's offices around the U.S. The firm is also donating $45,000 to Habitat for the cost of the house.
Shapiro said by using Blackberry text messages he was able to track down the 13 lawyers in his office shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29. But it took the better part of the following week to locate support staff. He found the last missing person almost a week later an assistant who has worked for him 10 years. The man had been rescued by helicopter from the freeway.
Shapiro is convinced that the message the firm is sending the associates will stick with them. "Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars entertaining, we're going to take that money and ask you if you're willing to come down here and work like dogs, when you could be having a good time doing what people in their 20s do on the weekends." Shapiro was impressed.
"It's a remarkable indicator of the mores of our firm and to the credit of these law clerks."
The new Slidell home is for Natasha Arrington, a single mother with four children. The family is currently living in a three-bedroom house with nine other extended family members who were also displaced by Katrina.
Movers & Shakers
Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP is sponsoring the third annual California Regional Conference of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey this weekend.
"We are proud to be one of the sponsors of the annual NAPABA conference," said Paul H. Irving, Manatt's chief executive and managing partner. "Manatt shares the commitment to fostering excellence and diversity within the legal profession."
Ruth Fisher of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP was lead attorney on a deal between Rhino Entertainment and Grateful Dead Productions.
Fisher is a partner in the Century City office and works in the corporate and entertainment practices. Under the license agreement, Rhino assumes primary responsibility for the full range of Grateful Dead assets, including a vast archive of unreleased live recordings.
Several Los Angeles partners with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP recently represented Texas Pacific Group and Leonard Green & Partners in their purchase of Petco Animal Supplies Inc. for $1.8 billion, including assumed debt. Nick P. Saggese and Casey T. Fleck worked on corporate matters, K. Kristine Dunn dealt with bank issues, Meryl K. Chae worked on the real estate and Michael A. Lawson handled benefits.
Comings & Goings
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP partner Roy Wuchitech has been named general counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense. Wuchitech specializes in environmental law and complex civil litigation. In his new position, he will assume responsibility for legal advice and services in environmental law at DOD installations. Dickstein Shapiro LLP is welcoming Lindsay Conner as the head of the firm's entertainment law practice. Most recently Conner served as the chief operating officer of I-Drop, Inc., an Internet media technology company. Cynthia Kaiser, previously the marketing director at the Beverly Hills law firm Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, is joining Kaye Scholer LLP as their business development manager. Kaiser is currently president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Legal Marketing Association.
Staff reporter Emily Bryson York can be reached at email@example.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 235.
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