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Jenner & Block names Terrence Truax as new managing partner

Posted Apr 15, 2014 1:25 PM CDT
By Victor Li

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Victor Li writes the ABA Journal's
LawScribbler column.

One week after Jenner & Block's managing partner Susan Levy announced her departure from the firm she had led since 2008, the Chicago-based firm has a new leader.

The firm announced on Monday that IP litigator Terrence Truax would be the new managing partner effective May 1. Traux, who has been at Jenner for 26 years, currently co-chairs the firm's patent litigation practice and has been a member of the firm's policy committee for the past five years. He will assume the reins of the 450-attorney firm once Levy departs at the end of the month to join the Northern Trust Corporation as executive vice president and general counsel.

"It's a very exciting challenge, and one that I'm looking forward to," Truax told the ABA Journal. Truax confirmed that he had been approached "a couple of weeks ago" to become the new managing partner.

"One of the many great things Susan did during her tenure was to groom a deep and diverse group of lawyers capable of leading the firm," says Truax. "There were many very talented people who could have filled the role I've been asked to fill. I'll be working with many of those people now." Truax singled out Craig Martin, co-chair of the firm's litigation department, and firm chairman Anton Valukas as people he'd be collaborating closely with.

Truax, who has a very busy practice and represents several high-profile Japanese companies like Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Nishi-Nippon Railroad, acknowledges that he'll have to scale back some of his client work. "I'm very committed to continuing some aspects of my practice," says Truax. "But it's obvious that the demands [of being managing partner] will command a significant portion of my time."

Nevertheless, he emphasizes that the firm sees real value to having a managing partner that has an active practice and is "in the weeds" with a client. "Plus, I have a talented team, and transition always provides opportunities for others," he says.

In the meantime, Truax says that he will look to build up the firm's national and international capabilities. "We are no longer a Chicago-only firm," says Truax, whose firm now has offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. "We want to make sure our brand is well-known from coast to coast."

Truax says that the firm is interested in growing its corporate transactions practice and is looking at ways to improve its global presence. However, he emphasizes that the firm is not necessarily in expansion mode. "Historically, we've been a conservatively managed institution," says Truax. "We've preferred to have more incremental growth, and any opportunities must be compatible with the very strong culture we've built here."

In a statement, Jenner & Block Chairman Anton Valukas praised Truax, calling him "an exceptional attorney."

"Terry is the right person to take on the role of managing partner at Jenner & Block," said Valukas. "He has strong leadership skills and management experience and has the confidence of our clients and partners. Terry also strongly embodies the firm's core values, managing a significant personal practice while also maintaining an active pro bono practice and commitment to the community."

Truax says that he will work closely with Levy to ensure an orderly transition. Levy, who is set to leave the firm at the end of April, will replace Kelly Welsh at Northern Trust (a longtime Jenner client). Welsh was confirmed on March 30 by the U.S. Senate to be general counsel of the U.S. Department of Commerce, nearly six months after he was nominated by President Obama. In an April 7 statement, Valukas wished Levy well. "While we are very sad to see her leave the firm, we are exceedingly proud of what she has accomplished," said Valukas. "She will be missed."

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