Weil, Gotshal & Manges has a new leader of its Washington office. Steven Tyrrell is taking over as managing partner after the firm’s former D.C. managing partner, Michael Lyle, and litigation partner Eric Lyttle announced their departure for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
Lyle and Lyttle are the latest partners to defect from Weil to join Quinn. In January 2012, partner William Burck left Weil for Quinn to serve as co-head of the Washington office, alongside Jon Corey. News of the lateral move was first reported by Above the Law on Wednesday. The Am Law Daily also covered the move.
Before joining Weil in February 2010, Tyrrell was chief of the Fraud Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he oversaw about 60 attorneys. In an interview, Tyrrell said the firm will accelerate its plan for growth in the D.C. office.
“It is likely we will be adding people in the regulatory area,” Tyrrell said. “This is an important growth area for the firm and when the right opportunities come up, we will make moves.”
Tyrrell declined to say whether any clients are following Lyle and Lyttle to their new firm, but said that their departure would not greatly hurt the firm's business.
"You don’t like to lose people like Mike and Eric, both of whom are friends, and I wish them both well," Tyrrell said. "But we as a firm are so much more than just one or two lawyers and their departure will not have a significant impact."
Tyrrell has been working on a number of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and securities-related work, he said. (At DOJ, he supervised prosecutors who worked a range of cases, from foreign corruption to health care fraud.)
"I presently am representing several multinationals in ongoing FCPA investigations, a key player in the DOJ’s ongoing LIBOR probe, and The Dow Chemical Company in a civil matter brought by Greenpeace in the District of Columbia," Tyrrell said.
Last year Weil's Washington attorneys handled the $21.3 billion acquisition of Synthes, Inc. by Johnson & Johnson. Lawyers in the office also represented Microsoft Corporation in a patent infringement dispute with TiVo, Inc. Other firm clients include TD Ameritrade, Kinder Morgan and Apple Inc.
Quinn has gone head to head with Weil in several cases related to the smart phone wars; with the former representing Samsung and the latter Apple. Quinn attorneys are also representing the Federal Housing Finance Agency in its cases against the large financial insertions accused of selling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac billions of dollars of shoddy mortgage-backed securities. Quinn lawyers are also representing Megaupload and its founder, Kim Dotcom, in one of the largest criminal copyright cases in DOJ history.
Since Quinn opened its Washington office in September 2011, the firm has grown to about 50 attorneys. The addition of Lyle and Lyttle brings the partner count to 12. Burck said that even though the office has grown rapidly, the firm is careful about who it brings onboard.
"We identify people who we think are a good fit with our culture and business," Burck said. "I don't think we're even half way there yet."