Thelen has seen a host of top partners depart this year, but the firm’s Washington office seemed to be holding relatively steady—until now. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman announced today that it has taken on Thelen’s entire China practice, including D.C. partners Joseph Tiano Jr. and Louis Bevilacqua, who help lead the group. According to a Pillsbury press release, the group totals about 20 lawyers. A firm spokesman says details of how many of those lawyers will end up in Pillsbury’s Washington office are still getting sorted out.
Legal Times detailed the turmoil at Thelen in this story last August. At the time, Thelen spokesman Kevin Livingston said the China practice was a signature area, and Tiano said the practice was worth “many millions of dollars.” The Pillsbury press release says the group represents 80 clients throughout the world. It focuses on corporate transactional and securities work involving investment in China and taking companies with operations in China public in the United States.
Pillsbury chairman James Rishwain Jr. says the recruits “will fully supplement our corporate and securities practice firmwide.” He says Pillsbury opened in Shanghai in 2006 and has been looking to grow the office and the related work ever since. He says the new lawyers will gradually start at Pillsbury over the next few weeks.
Back in August, Legal Times noted that such a solid, specialized practice area could be a target for firms looking to cherry-pick. “Especially where the firm is right now, we get headhunter calls all the time,” said Tiano, in response to questions about the group’s long-term plans, adding, “Sure, there’s lots of opportunities out there for us. It’s one of those things you just have to take on a day-by-day basis.”