Lewis Brisbois names new managing partner in wake of mass employment team exodus

'Outstanding leader' Gregory Katz succeeds founder Bob Lewis, who stepped down after more than 100 lawyers left to launch new boutique

Gregory Katz Image courtesy of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith has named a new managing partner after previous incumbent, firm founder Bob Lewis, stepped down following an exodus of more than 100 lawyers from the Los Angeles-based firm’s employment practice to form a boutique. 

The firm announced today that its management committee had unanimously elected former vice chairman Gregory Katz to succeed Lewis as managing partner. 

Lewis stepped down as managing partner earlier this month as part of a wider leadership shuffle in the wake of more than 100 lawyers leaving the firm to join a new boutique launched by John Barber and Jeff Ranen, the former leaders of the firm’s employment practice.

The firm also disbanded its executive committee and on 10 May announced that its equity partners had elected five new members to add to its 10-strong management committee. 

“Greg has proven himself to be an outstanding leader since he joined us 13 years ago and is clearly the right choice for this role,” said Lewis, who took on the new role of chairman emeritus after stepping back as managing partner. “I believe Greg and our expanded management committee will do great things to carry on the traditions of this firm.”

A long-serving member of the firm’s management committee, Katz also leads the New York office, co-chairs the firm’s general liability and transportation practices and oversees the national trial practice team. He will continue to actively oversee his team of litigators in New York, Lewis Brisbois said. 

The leadership change brought to an end Lewis’ 43 years at the helm of the firm he founded in 1979 as a small insurance defence boutique. The Los Angeles-based lawyer oversaw the firm’s expansion outside California 20 years ago and its subsequent growth into one of the largest law firms in the US by headcount, with 1,700 lawyers across 55 offices. 

Lewis Brisbois reported $703m in gross revenue last year – putting it at number 70 in the latest Am Law 100 – and counts corporate giants like Ford Motor Company and Home Depot as clients. 

The firm has appointed New York partner Elior Shiloh to lead its labour and employment team following the departure of Barber and Ranen. In January, the chair of its cybersecurity and data privacy practice, Sean Hoar, left with a 44-strong team of lawyers and staff for Atlanta-based rival Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete. 

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]