Numerous firms are rumored to be interested in the group. Climan and Keith Flaum, who moved from Cooley to Dewey & LeBoeuf at the same time, brought companies such as Applied Materials Inc., eBay Inc. and Synopsys Inc. with them, and they've also landed work from new clients such as Dell Inc. Climan also did the M&A work for the Los Angeles Dodgers on their recent $2.15 billion sale to Guggenheim Baseball Partners LP. Bruce Bennett, who came to Dewey last year and is still at the firm, was the Dodgers' bankruptcy lawyer. Climan and Flaum also helped Illumina Inc. beat back a bid from Roche AG, but Dewey partner Frederick Kanner had the relationship with Illumina.
One member of Climan's team, technology transactions specialist Eric Riefschneider, announced in March that he was moving to Qualcomm Inc., where he will have a senior role in the licensing department, but Flaum, Jane Ross, and tech transactions partner John Brockland all stayed at Dewey after joining the firm with Climan. James Griffin, who knew Climan through their work on the American Bar Association's M&A committee, moved last year to Dewey´s Palo Alto, Calif., office from the Dallas office of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP and has worked with Climan´s group since then.
Law.com reported that Climan was in talks with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and the U.K.'s Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, and other firms are rumored to be in the running as well.
Gibson has a significant presence in the Valley and represented Hewlett Packard Co., which it advised last year on the $10.3 billion purchase of Autonomy plc. Freshfields did the E.U. antitrust work on that deal for HP but has U.S offices only in New York and Washington. Kirkland has a strong intellectual property practice on the West Coast but a minimal presence in tech M&A. Just a few months before Climan moved to Dewey, Kirkland poached M&A partners David Fox and Daniel Wolf from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Though Climan was able to keep his group intact three years ago, some firms may balk at picking up five partners in a sluggish dealmaking environment. And a number of law firms have wanted to increase their presence in Silicon Valley for many years, meaning that they may try to lure one or more of the group members with a generous offer.
Meanwhile, Morton Pierce, who as the chairman of Dewey Ballantine LLP struck the deal that created Dewey & LeBoeuf, is moving to White & Case LLP. Pierce built a strong practice in representing investment banks as M&A advisers, though in recent years Dewey's Denise Cerasani has taken the lead on many of those assignments.
Pierce also did work for Walt Disney Co., though Skadden took the lead on Disney´s acquisition of Pixar Animation Studio in 2006. Pierce is reportedly bringing a group of lawyers with him to White & Case.
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