Hogan Hires Three Bracewell Litigators in NY

Hogan Lovells announced this week that it has lured three partners from Bracewell’s New York office including the co-chair of its securities practice.

Michael C. Hefter, Seth M. Cohen and Ryan M. Philp, whose practices focus on complex commercial litigation related to corporate governance issues, will all join as partners.

“The platform really gives us an opportunity to grow,” said Hefter. “The international platform and the domestic platform, because Hogan Lovells does have very significant offices in the U.S., was very attractive to us.”

He added the firm is seeking to grow in New York, where it currently has around 200 lawyers. Hogan Lovells has 15 offices in the U.S., and more than 2,500 lawyers located in more than 50 offices across the globe.

Bracewell, by comparison, is headquartered in Houston and has eight U.S. offices, plus locations in Dubai and London. According to its website, there are roughly 50 lawyers in New York, about the same as the firm listed last October, according to the Internet Archive.

The firm has experienced changes in New York since former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani exited in January 2016 to join Greenberg Traurig and the firm dropped his name and just became Bracewell. One of the biggest exits in New York occurred more than a year ago, in March 2016, when a 10-lawyer group that focused on broker-dealer representations departed to join Schulte Roth.

Meanwhile, Bracewell has been growing in Washington, D.C., with six additions in the last six months, particularly its lobbying group where earlier this month it added Liam Donovan, who has represented the Association of Builders and Contractors.

Neither Mark Evans, co-chairman of Bracewell, nor a spokesman were available for comment.

At Hogan Lovells, Dennis Tracey, head of the’ litigation practice for the Americas, said adding the trio from Bracewell is part of a firmwide effort to build the M&A practice. In March, Hogan hired five M&A lawyers from Weil Gotshal & Manges’ Silicon Valley office, including Richard Climan and Keith Flaum.

“This is giving us a deeper bench,” Tracey said about the litigators in New York who joined the firm, adding that they used a recruiter to find them.

Hefter, who co-led Bracewell’s securities practice, represented Rebecca Mairone, former chief operating officer of Countrywide Financial, described by Bloomberg News as “the only major mortgage executive found liable for her part in the 2008 financial crisis.” Hefter helped persuade an appellate court to reverse that finding against Mairone.

Cohen also worked on that case and previously defended Rudolph Giuliani in an intellectual property case, according to his bio on Bracewell, which remained online as of Thursday morning.

Philp also worked on the Mairone matter, and also defended Activision against a suit that imprisoned former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that ‘Call of Duty’ infringed his right of publicity because he appeared as a character in the game.

Contact the reporter responsible for this story: Gabe Friedman at gabefriedman@outlook.com.

Contact the editors responsible for this story: Casey Sullivan at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and Tom Taylor at ttaylor@bna.com.