Just a week after losing a partner, Pierce O'Donnell has a new firm and focus.

Ann Marie Moritmer dissolved O'Donnell & Mortimer LLP earlier this month, leaving the firm along with a handful of attorneys to start the Los Angeles office of Hunton & Williams LLP.

In the wake of her exit, O'Donnell has founded a new shingle, O'Donnell & Associates, which will concentrate on complex business litigation and public justice litigation.

O'Donnell is considered one of the nation's leading trial attorneys. He's represented major corporations such as Conoco Phillips, Bridgestone/Firestone, and Texaco and successfully defended Lockheed Martin Corp. against more then 3,000 toxic tort claims. O'Donnell is also active in the entertainment industry, handing cases for Vidal Sassoon, Michael Bolton and Faye Dunaway. But recently, O'Donnell's work has turned more to public justice.

He's currently lead counsel in two federal cases representing Hurricane Katrina victims in suits against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. One is a test case with five plaintiffs and a business seeking reparations. Another seeks an injunction to close the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

"I am realizing a longtime ambition to use whatever talent and resources I have to represent the vulnerable in our society who too often lack competent counsel and access to justice," O'Donnell said, adding that he will continue with the business litigation work that has made him famous.

His new firm is "lean and friendly" with five lawyers.

"I'm 59 and I want to give back," O'Donnell said. He expects to spend about 40 percent of his time on the Katrina cases in the next two years.

The rest of the time, he says he'll be working on other cases, "to keep the wolves from the door."

The Blog Docket
Jim Butler, who heads the 50-lawyer hospitality group at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP, says that last year he found that there were more than 600 blogs devoted to law. None of them, he discovered, focused on hotel law. So he started his own.

"It was probably about a year ago that I started noticing a number of articles about how important blogs were going to be as a means of communication, particularly among people in a given industry," Butler said.

Butler has always been interested in computers, crediting his technical savvy to his lifelong fascination with science and technology. When he was in high school, he planned to become a nuclear physicist but turned to the bar instead. He's become one of the nation's best-known hospitality lawyers.


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