Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, a San Francisco-based law firm, said it plans to hire as many as 20 corporate attorneys from law firm Nixon Peabody LLP, at least the third group to leave that firm since May 1.
The attorneys, who are joining Pillsbury Winthrop’s New York office, include Mats G. Carlston, former head of the global finance practice at Boston-based Nixon Peabody. Carlston will lead the leveraged-finance group at his new firm.
Others in the group specialize in private-equity, municipal-finance and distressed-investing law. Seven have agreed to move, and others are negotiating, according to Pillsbury’s chairman.
“This is significant for us because it’s very strategic,” James M. Rishwain Jr., the chairman, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “The financial-institutions practice is one of Pillsbury’s core strengths. This group enhances our capabilities in that area.”
DLA Piper LLP announced in May that four partners from Nixon Peabody were joining the 3,500-lawyer firm to direct a sports transactional practice. DLA hired three more partners from the firm two weeks later.
The group joining Pillsbury, a 700-lawyer firm with 14 offices, currently includes five partners and two counsel, and the number probably will reach 15 to 20 including associates, Rishwain said. Counsel and associates are salaried attorneys.
“You do not see too many opportunities where practice groups move from firm to firm,” he said. “They share our values, our culture and our approach.”
The group also has common clients with Pillsbury, including BNP Paribas SA, Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp., Rishwain said.
“These departures will have a net positive impact on Nixon Peabody’s 2010 financial results,” said Allison McClain, a Nixon Peabody spokeswoman. The firm recently hired several “lateral” attorneys, including finance partners. She said 14 lawyers are leaving.
Rishwain said he canceled a flight from New York to Los Angeles several months ago so he and Carlston could talk the next morning. The recruiting effort started over breakfast at the W hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
Nixon Peabody has 800 attorneys in 17 cities, according to the firm’s website.
By Carlyn Kolker, firstname.lastname@example.org