Two days after taking on Thelen’s entire China practice, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman today announces it has picked up a partner and counsel from Thelen’s construction litigation and international dispute practices for its Washington office. “Construction litigation is Thelen’s crown jewel,” says Kenneth Taber, a co-leader of Pillsbury’s litigation section. “We have attorneys who have handled sophisticated construction litigation on both coasts, but what this does is really give us a dedicated core in our D.C. office, which we didn’t have previously.”
Michael Jaffe, formerly chairman of the international arbitration and disputes resolution groups at Thelen, starts as a partner at Pillsbury today, as does counsel Ronan McHugh. Taber says he expects two or three associates will soon follow from Thelen. Though he declined to give specific names, Taber says the lawyers are bringing “some very sizeable clients” with them, including one that Pillsbury already does real estate work for. Both Jaffe and McHugh also handle international arbitration work, including matters stemming from international construction projects.
Taber says he doesn’t recall exactly how Pillsbury first connected with Jaffe and McHugh, because Pillsbury is in the midst of ongoing recruiting discussions with a number of other lawyers at Thelen as well. Taber says headhunters initiated some of those talks, while some are the result of Thelen partners recommending each other to Pillsbury. With all the ongoing activity, Taber says he’s not sure which category Jaffe and McHugh fall into. Taber would not specify which existing Thelen partners or practices Pillsbury is in talks with.
Legal Times covered the ongoing turmoil at Thelen in a story last August. The firm has been consistently losing top partners as it searches for a merger partner.