Updated 4:47 p.m.
Wilkinson Barker Knauer, a Washington-based communications and technology boutique, has landed a six-lawyer communications team from Morrison & Foerster, including the chair of the firm’s communications practice, Cheryl Tritt.
Joining Tritt at Wilkinson are partners Charles Kennedy and Jennifer Kostyu. Frank Krogh and Phuong Pham also joined as of counsel. In April, William Maher Jr. will join Wilkinson Barker Knauer as a partner.
Tritt focuses her practice on wireless, satellite, local competition, broadband, and Internet and Voice over Internet Protocol technology. She represented Alltel Corp. during its $27.5 billion acquisition by private equity firms TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners.
Tritt has also represented T-Mobile USA Inc., a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG. Tritt advised T-Mobile’s predecessor VoiceStream Wireless Corp. when it was bought by Deutsche Telekom for $35 billion in 2001.
From 1989 until 1993, Tritt worked at the Federal Communications Commission, where she served as an adviser to former Chairman Alfred Sikes and later as the head of the Common Carrier Bureau.
In 2007, Legal Times named Tritt one of ten Leading Lawyers in communications law. The 2007 profile of Tritt noted her “her expertise in the complexities of international transactions.”
Wilkinson Barker Knauer has been making aggressive hires lately. On Feb 16, the firm added a Denver office with the addition of six lawyers from Denver-based Kamlet Reichert.
Bryan Tramont, managing partner of Wilkinson Barker Knauer, said that the firm’s rapid expansion in the past six weeks comes because it is an “opportune time to be a boutique law firm.” Tramont declined to discuss actual revenue, but he said that the firm did “very well” in 2009. The firm is representing NBC in its acquisition by Comcast.
“We offer the quality of a top-notch international law firm but with a business approach and a rate structure that is more nimble than those at a large shop.”
Tramont said he has “long admired” Tritt’s work and has spoken to her for years about bringing her team to Wilkinson Barker Knauer. “I’ve always been a fan,” he said.
A Morrison & Foerster spokeswoman did not immediately comment on the move.
Update: In an interview this afternoon, Tritt said that she opted to take her team to Wilkinson Barker Knauer after 17 years at Morrison & Foerster because she was interested in joining a larger team of communications lawyers.
"At MoFo, the communications practice was pretty small. With greater bench strength and expanded capabilities, Wilkinson offered a fabulous opportunity," Tritt said.
Tritt added that another reason for the move was the "flexible" rate structure offered by Wilkinson Barker Knauer. "The rate structure in global law firms is increasingly challenging for regulatory practices," Tritt said.