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Skadden’s longtime mass torts leader jumps to Quinn Emanuel

Posted Apr 23, 2013 12:01 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Sheila Birnbaum, the co-leader of Skadden’s mass torts and insurance litigation group, is leaving to develop a mass torts practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Products liability partner Mark Cheffo will be making the leap along with Birnbaum, Above the Law reported when it broke the news. Birnbaum has worked at Skadden for more than 30 years and has a “huge book of business” involving complex mass tort cases, the blog says.

The firm’s mass torts practice will now be led by John Beisner, who has co-chaired the group since 2009, according to an internal memo obtained by Above the Law.

The blog wonders if Skadden's retirement policy factored into Birnbaum's decision to leave. "Birnbaum is either 72 or 73," ATL says, "so she’s already over the firm’s mandatory retirement age of 70—which might not be that 'mandatory,' at least for top business generators like Birnbaum."

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