Venable Hires Four Partners From McDermott Will & Emery

The Los Angeles skyline AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR

Four tax and wealth planning lawyers have joined Venable in Los Angeles from the Chicago-based law firm McDermott Will & Emery.

Jonathan C. Lurie, William R. Burford and Andrew D. Copans have already joined the firm as partners, while Jason P. Trenton will join as a partner in early January, Venable said on Friday.

The group also brings three paralegals and three staff members.

Lurie, whose practice specializes in estate planning, was sued alongside McDermott last year by grandchildren (and their father Richard “Dick” Hausman) of the founder of pharmaceutical giant Allergan Inc. The plaintiffs claimed Lurie and McDermott helped a sibling of the grandchildren take control of the family’s $50 million holding company away from them.

In May, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher was disqualified from representing McDermott in the case over its use of a privileged document.

Lurie declined to comment on the malpractice case, but said “The reason for the move was the positive elements of my relationship with [Venable trust and estates partner] Michele Mulrooney.”

“I’ve known Michelle for about 30 years,” he said. “We were young associates at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher together and we have a lot of respect for each other. We have, in the past, tried to have our paths joined together, and an opportunity arose for us to create a group here in Los Angeles in the private client arena.”

Carol A. Harrington, global head of McDermott’s private client practice, wished the partners well in a statement and said that the firm “maintains a strong West Coast presence” in the private client and wealth management practice.

Douglas C. Emhoff, Venable’s managing director of West Coast offices, said in a statement that the firm has set out to turn “one of California’s tax and wealth planning practices” into a “national powerhouse.”

Venable has more than 600 lawyers, with a headquarters in Washington, D.C., and specializes in litigation, intellectual property, regulatory and government matters.

McDermott has more than 1,000 lawyers and is a full service firm, although tax is one of its core practice areas.

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