London’s Norton Rose Fulbright has lost 11 attorneys in its downtown L.A. office to rival firms this month, including the heads of its L.A. labor and employment and health care practices.

Both the firm and the departing attorneys said the moves were unrelated to the merger last month of Norton Rose and Fulbright & Jaworski, which formed Norton Rose Fulbright.

The departures drop Norton’s L.A. office attorney head count to 43, down from 54 at Fulbright & Jaworski before the merger. Norton did not have an L.A. presence prior to the merger.

The partner in charge of the office, Peter Mason, maintained in an emailed statement that Norton remains attractive for laterals and recruits.

“We are a very large law practice with many partners, and partners leave firms for a variety of reasons,” he said. “We also have had a number of talented partner lateral hires over the last year. Our enlarged global platform will further enhance our ability to attract and retain the top legal talent in the world.”

Winston & Strawn LLP poached six labor and employment attorneys from the firm last week, a group led by Marcus Torrano, who headed Norton Rose’s L.A. labor and employment practice and will co-chair Winston & Strawn’s L.A. labor and employment practice. Making the move with him were partners Michael Chamberlin and Julie Capell, and associates Amy McGinnis Gillinger, Julie Chen and Olivia N. Tran.

Torrano and Chamberlin cited Winston’s strong labor and employment practice and its West Coast growth plans as reasons for their move.

“If anything, the merger was a disincentive to the move,” Chamberlin said. “I was quite excited about it, but the opportunity with Winston was such a good opportunity.”

Their hires are the latest in a rapid string of additions at Winston’s downtown L.A. office. The Chicago firm has added 13 attorneys in Los Angeles and three in San Francisco since January, part of a concerted effort by firm leaders to grow its West Coast presence.

Office Managing Partner Eric Sagerman said he would like to add 20 attorneys a year until the outpost grows to about 100. The current office attorney head count is 63.

He is looking to hire attorneys who complement the firm’s practices on the East Coast, including intellectual property litigation, energy, private equity, complex litigation and antitrust.

“We’d like to achieve geographic balance with rest of the firm,” he said. “I like to think of it as ‘Winston on the move.’”

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