Law Firms

2 top partners among group of Quinn Emanuel lawyers leaving to start new firm

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Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan announced Thursday that two top partners and a “handful” of other lawyers are leaving to form their own firm.

The departing partners are Philippe Selendy, chair of the firm’s securities and structured finance practices, and Faith Gay, co-chair of the national securities practice, Bloomberg Big Law Business reports.

Six veteran trial lawyers from Quinn Emanuel, all partners, will also be joining the new firm of Selendy & Gay, according to Bloomberg. The group includes Selendy’s wife, Jennifer.

Managing partner John B. Quinn said in a statement that the departures would have little impact.

“Our firm has never been stronger, and has never had a deeper bench of veteran and next generation talent,” he said. “We of course respect our valued colleagues’ decision to take their practice to a smaller platform, but we do not expect these departures to have any significant impact on our practice or our revenue.”

With over 720 lawyers in 21 offices in nine countries, Quinn noted that 2017 “was our highest year ever in terms of revenue, and we expect this year to be even better.”

Individual lawyers in a number of Quinn Emanuel offices have left to start their own firms over the years, according to Peter E. Calamari, the managing partner of Quinn Emanuel’s New York office. Such departures are “a sign of our firm’s maturity and great success,” he said in the statement.

Selendy said in a statement that “Quinn Emanuel remains close to my heart” and he looks forward to working with the law firm in the future. Gay said she felt privileged to have worked at Quinn Emanuel.

In an interview with Bloomberg last summer, Selendy noted the settlement of several cases he had overseen against large banks for conduct before the recession. Selendy said he was looking at market manipulation cases in the energy sector and he would like to also handle pro bono cases.

He told Bloomberg in that interview that partners had differing views on the types of cases they would like to handle and called the firm “fractious.” Some lawyers prefer high-profit litigation and others are interested in public-interest work, he said. Selendy said there is often active dissent among lawyers, which is to be expected from litigators.

Bloomberg was not able to reach Selendy to ask if those comments last year had anything to do with his departure.

Quinn Emanuel partner William Burck has been in the news for his representation of President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, White House counsel Don McGahn and former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

The firm announced last August that it was encouraging associates to stay with an “associate longevity bonus pool.”

Updated at 4:30 p.m. to include new information from Bloomberg.

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