Exodus grows at Patton Boggs

Nearly a dozen more attorneys at Patton Boggs have jumped ship in a staff exodus precipitated by the merger with Squire Sanders.

Seven of the attorneys defected to Holland and Knight, while four others landed at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which is second only to Patton Boggs in total lobbying revenue.

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The departures are part of a major shakeup at Patton, which over the weekend completed a merger with the international law giant Squire Sanders to become Squire Patton Boggs.

Under the terms of the deal, Patton Boggs said it would shed anywhere from 40 to 50 attorneys. At least 21 employees are known to have left the firm so far.

Attorneys began leaving even before the merger became official.

John Jonas, a longtime partner, took six members of the health policy practice he founded to Akin Gump last week, starting what one former Patton attorney predicted would be a “bloodletting” related to the merger.

Three other top Republican lawyers left Patton on Friday to form a political and election law group at law firm Jones Day. 

The latest departures to Akin Gump include Jennifer L. Richter, who became a partner, and Benjamin Bartlett, who was named an associate in the firm’s communications and information technology practice. Bartlett will work alongside another Patton alum, Michael Drobac, who joined Akin last month.

“The wireless and broadband sectors are poised for dramatic growth in the coming years, and Jennifer’s insights into the key regulatory, transactional and policy issues will be of great benefit to our clients,” said Tom Davidson, the head of Akin Gump’s communications and information technology practice, in a statement. “Combined with Michael’s strong policy work on Capitol Hill, we are even better positioned to assist our clients with their most sophisticated communications law needs.”

Meanwhile, Gregory Walden, a former senior federal official who specializes in aviation policy, and Melanie Goggins have joined the lobbying shop at Akin. Walden will be senior counsel in the group.

The lawyers who left Patton for Holland & Knight mostly specialize in financial services.

Partners Norman Antin, Jeffrey Haas and Kevin Houlihan will be based in Holland and Knight’s Washington office, while Mark Goldschmidt and Shawn Turner will be partners in the Denver outpost. William Levay, another financial services professional, will also join the Washington office as a senior counsel.

“This group's sophisticated corporate practice and deep financial services experience will add significant depth to the firm's strategic focus on the financial services industry," said James McDermott, leader of Holland & Knight's business section, in a statement. "Their national footprint and unrivaled legal skills are truly a strategic asset, and we are fortunate that such outstanding lawyers have chosen to join us."

Mary Beth Bosco, a former member of Patton Boggs’ executive committee and co-chair of the firm’s diversity committee, will become a partner in Holland & Knight’s Washington office. She specializes her practice in government contracts, but has also worked in several merger deals and on cybersecurity issues.

She will be working with Bob Tompkins, who formerly led the government contracts group at Patton Boggs and joined Holland & Knight in January.

“[Holland’s] growing government contracts practice is a one of the primary reasons I am joining the firm. The opportunities to continue building the practice on a nationwide basis are immense, and I intend to use my background in M&A, investigations, cybersecurity and intellectual property issues to help the firm further strengthen its presence in the government contracting community,” Bosco said in a release.