21 Jan 2021

Paul Weiss advances West Coast expansion plans with trio of litigation partners from Orrick

New York firm also brings in corporate partner from Kirkland & Ellis to bolster new San Francisco office

The Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the background

By kropic1; Shutterstock

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison is pressing ahead with its plans to open a San Francisco office with the hiring of four experienced Northern California partners.

Melinda Haag, Walter Brown and Randy Luskey join the firm’s litigation department from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, with Jeremy Veit joining the corporate department from Kirkland & Ellis. The four new arrivals will form the foundation of the firm’s Bay Area expansion, alongside litigation partner Meredith Dearborn who joined in the summer from Boies Schiller Flexner when Paul Weiss first revealed its West Coast expansion plans.

Brad Karp, Paul Weiss chairman, said: “Our attorneys have a long history of securing successful outcomes for the largest and most important companies in the Bay Area and our clients have strongly encouraged us to establish an on-the-ground presence in Northern California to help them navigate their most significant legal challenges and business opportunities.”

Karp added that further expansion is on the horizon as it seeks to position itself as a leading firm in Northern California at a time of increased litigation and regulatory threats in the region.

Haag brings more than three decades of experience handling white collar crime cases, corporate investigations and commercial litigation, most recently as a partner at Orrick. She also previously served as US Attorney for the Northern District of California between 2010 and 2015, sandwiched between an earlier seven-year stint at Orrick. 

Brown likewise brings more than three decades of litigation experience with him, more than 17 of which were spent at Orrick where he was leader of its litigation business unit, a member of the firm’s board and a former chair of its white collar criminal defence and corporate investigations practice.

Luskey also had two stints at Orrick punctuated by three years as an assistant US attorney in the criminal division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. He first joined Orrick as a summer associate in 2003.

Highly ranked Washington DC-based trial lawyer Karen Dunn, who like Dearborn also joined Paul Weiss last year from Boies Schiller, said: “I have been struck by how uniformly well-respected they [Haag and Brown] and Randy are throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Together with our partners Meredith Dearborn, Bill Isaacson, Jeh Johnson, Jeannie Rhee and others, Paul Weiss has put together an all-star team for our Bay Area clients facing business-critical litigation and government oversight.” 

Veit, meantime, arrives at Paul Weiss after almost two decades at Kirkland & Ellis where he specialised in private equity transactions.

Scott Barshay, chair of Paul Weiss’s corporate department, said: “Jeremy is a top-flight private equity lawyer with strong relationships across the region. We look forward to continuing to develop our West Coast corporate practice, building on Jeremy’s significant practice advising private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies.”

Once opened, the office will be the Am Law top 20 firm's fourth in the US, after New York, Washington DC and Wilmington. Other leading US firms to open for business in San Francisco in recent years include BakerHostetler, which unveiled its new office in March last year, and and Willkie Farr & Gallagher, which opened there in 2019.

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