Two Goodwin Procter lawyers, including the leader of the firm’s Washington litigation department, are leaving for Schiff Hardin.
Elizabeth Geise and Valerie Ross, who focus on toxic tort litigation, join as partners in the product liability group. Their practice includes class actions, commercial litigation and insurance coverage disputes. Geise formerly led Goodwin’s Washington litigation team.
Geise said in an interview that she and Ross "were looking for a larger and more national products liability practice." Schiff Hardin, Geise said, wanted her and Ross as much as the two lawyers wanted to move to the firm. Geise said she first met Schiff Hardin chairman Robert Riley when the two attorneys were on opposite ends of a case about 25 years ago.
"For our work, it's largely been in the asbestos litigation area," Ross said. "Schiff Hardin does work in other areas and we are looking to expand our products liability practice in other areas."
Geise said several clients—she declined to name them—will follow her to Schiff Hardin. Goodwin has more than 750 attorneys, compared to Schiff Hardin which has about 300. Goodwin's profits per partner last year were around $1.5 million, compared to $870,000 at Schiff Hardin. The addition of Geise and Ross bring the headcount in Schiff Hardin's Washington office to 36 attorneys, according to the firm website.
Schiff Hardin's Washington office has grown steadily this year, due in part to the firm’s merger with Bruder, Gentile & Marcoux. In January Schiff Hardin acquired a 10-lawyer team—five partners and five associates—from Bruder. The energy regulatory group of attorneys focus on the electric and natural gas industries. In March, Schiff Hardin added three corporate and securities partners from Cozen O'Connor.