Law Firms

Remainder of product liability group from Quinn Emanuel follows Sheila Birnbaum to Dechert

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Dechert has added the remainder of the products liability group from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan after acquiring its two co-chairs and another partner in May.

The entire group consists of 29 people. The move is one of Dechert’s largest lateral acquisitions to date, according to a press release from the firm. Bloomberg Big Law Business also covered the move.

The group is joining Dechert after its recent acquisition of three products liability partners from Quinn Emanuel, including product liability co-chairs Sheila Birnbaum and Mark Cheffo. Birnbaum has been called the “queen of toxic torts,” according to an American Lawyer story about the May move.

The new group moving to Dechert consists of three additional new partners, nine counsel, six associates, three project attorneys and five paralegals.

Matthew Larrabee, chair of Dechert’s global litigation practice, told Bloomberg that the acquisition is one of the largest lateral moves in BigLaw, short of a merger with another firm. With the addition of the new lawyers, Dechert has about 350 lawyers in its global litigation practice.

Dechert is national co-counsel for Purdue Pharma in more than 1,000 lawsuits by governments, hospitals and others over the marketing of opioids.

Quinn Emanuel said in May that the departures of Birnbaum and the two other partners stemmed from conflicts between its products liability litigation and its “broad and diverse practice” in other areas.

Quinn Emanuel managing partner John Quinn had a different reaction when 10 partners left to form their own firm. Quinn suggested one of the partners, Faith Fay, should have replaced her departure email with “a poem about deception or ingratitude.”

When the partners challenged the firm’s fee-clawback provision in court, Quinn Emanuel claimed the partners brought the action in New York as a “publicity gambit” and the dispute should be arbitrated, the American Lawyer reported Thursday.

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