Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is adding a nine-partner energy team from McDermott, Will & Emery to its Washington office.
According to a source familiar with the deal, who requested anonymity because the terms of the deal are still under discussion, the lawyers making the move include D.C.-based partners Paul Pantano Jr., co-head of McDermott's energy and commodities group, and Karen Dewis, co-head of the firm's mergers and acquisitions practice. Five other Washington-based partners will be moving to Cadwalader, as will a partner in McDermott’s London office and a partner in Houston.
The deal, which was first reported in The Washington Post, will add seven partners to Cadwalader’s existing partnership in Washington, which is currently made up of 17 partners. More lawyers from outside the partner ranks are expected to make the move as well.
For McDermott, the news of the defections comes as the firm is making moves to close its office in San Diego. According to a Jan. 13 memo sent to the firm’s partners, the majority of the eight lawyers and 31 staff members in that office will be moved to the firm’s Orange County office in Irvine, Calif.
McDermott’s decision to close the San Diego office follows the November departures of partners Astrid Spain and David Gay, who moved to Jones Day, along with three patent agents. McDermott opened its San Diego office in 2003.
In a prepared statement, a McDermott spokesman said, "While we are sorry to see these partners go, these moves do not change McDermott’s strong commitment to our many diverse clients operating within the global energy industry. To put things in perspective, the departing partners' total collections in 2010 amounted to a small percentage of Firm revenue. Whereas these departing partners focused mainly on commodities and derivatives trading for financial clients, McDermott’s global energy capabilities are far broader than that. McDermott continues to represent some of the biggest names in the energy industry across a broad range of corporate, transactional, regulatory, enforcement, litigation, tax and other matters."
The spokesman also noted that the departures in Washington and the closing of the San Diego office were "totally unrelated."