DLA Piper snags 27 lawyers in Honigman as law firms hire big groups

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Signage is seen outside the DLA Piper law firm in Washington, DC, U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Departures include Honigman’s managing partner in Chicago, a co-leader in private equity
  • Several large groups have moved between US law firms in the past month

(Reuters) – DLA Piper, one of the most profitable U.S. law firms, said on Thursday it had hired a team of 27 private equity lawyers from Detroit-based Honigman.

The hires will significantly expand DLA Piper’s team of middle-market private equity lawyers in Chicago. They include Harris Eisenberg, managing partner of Honigman’s office in the city, and Alex Plakas, co-head of Honigman’s private equity practice.

The hiring of DLA Piper marks the latest major group of attorneys to move between major U.S. law firms in the past month.

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At the end of March, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan lost almost all of its financial restructuring group, which accounted for 29% of its turnover last year, to Paul Hastings.

Shortly thereafter, Norton Rose Fulbright doubled the size of its Minneapolis office by hiring a local trial firm, then opened an office in Chicago with a group of 11 attorneys from DLA Piper, K&L Gates and Polsinelli.

Fennemore Craig, a Phoenix-based company, took over “the vast majority” of California-based Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden in early April.

DLA Piper and the Honigman team have crossed paths on private equity deals before, said Joseph Silver, global co-chairman of DLA Piper’s private equity practice.

Honigman said in a statement Thursday that it was a “sound and profitable” business that has made “nearly 80 hires” over the past 18 months.

Kay Hoppe, a Chicago-based legal recruiter, said she is already hearing from other attorneys who have also been approached to join DLA Piper in light of Thursday’s group move.

“Any time you can get a big chunk of private equity, that’s a big deal,” Hoppe said. “That’s what everyone wants.”

(Updated with comments from DLA Piper partner Joseph Silver, legal recruiter Kay Hoppe and law firm Honigman.)

Read more:

Norton Rose Fulbright bets on the Midwest with Chicago expansion

Stroock’s deceased lawyers generated 29% of 2021 revenue, says firm chief

Fennemore poaches 25 California lawyers in continued push west

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