Yesterday, The Recorder reported that Thelen chairman Stephen O'Neal, a partner in Thelen's signature construction practice, had been in talks to join Howrey's D.C. office. Howrey's managing partner Robert Ruyak then confirmed to Legal Times that his firm had begun "preliminary discussions" about taking on parts of Thelen's construction, government contracts, and toxic torts practices. Ruyak, though, did not specify whether those talks included O'Neal.
Until just recently, Thelen's Washingon office had largely stayed out of the fray. Then, earlier this month, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman picked off Thelen's entire, 20-lawyer China practice, including D.C. partners Joseph Tiano Jr. and Louis Bevilacqua. Pillsbury also took construction litigation partner Michael Jaffe and of counsel Ronan McHugh in Washington.
D.C.-based legal recruiter Gary Klein says he is working with Thelen lawyers, and that the premier construction practice is "trying to move as an entire entity." Klein would not say specifically which firms or offices are considering taking on the practice, but said firms in "a lot of different cities, including Washington," are interested.