Merrill Lynch & Co.'s head of investment banking for Asia, Damian Chunilal, has left the bank. Chunilal joined Merrill in 1989 and has worked in London and New York covering sovereigns, corporates and financial institutions. No reason was given for the departure, and no successor was named. Bank of America Corp. is in the process of acquiring Merrill.
Robert W. Baird & Co. hired Steve Holt as a director in its institutional equity sales group, based in London. He will manage buy-side equity clients. Holt most recently worked on the U.S. equity sales team at Lehman Brothers Inc. in London.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP announced that John White, the Securities and Exchange Commission's director of the division of corporation finance, will rejoin the firm as a partner in 2009. Before the SEC, White was a partner at Cravath for more than 25 years.
In Washington, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP said David Blass has joined the firm as special counsel in the asset management group. Since 2006, Blass was assistant director for the SEC's division of investment management. He previously served in its division of market regulation and as branch chief and special counsel.
Michael Martinez joined Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP as special counsel in the firm's litigation department. Martinez is an appellate lawyer specializing in white-collar defense, SEC enforcement actions and complex civil litigation.
Before Kramer Levin, Martinez served for eight years as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of New Jersey, where he worked in the securities and healthcare fraud unit, government fraud unit and appeals unit, and had also served as acting chief of the terrorism unit.
Maureen Helmer, former chair of the New York State Public Service Commission, was enlisted as a partner and co-chair of Hiscock & Barclay LLP's regulatory practice area. Helmer, resident in Albany, was also chair of the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment.
Bingham McCutchen LLP added Matthew Puhar as a corporate partner in its Hong Kong office. Puhar joins Bingham from Halliwells LLP, where he led the London corporate finance group and firmwide teams in public and private equity financing and listing projects, and real estate funds formation and investment deals.
Foley & Lardner LLP said three former Heller Ehrman LLP attorneys, led by life sciences transactional attorney Richard Kaufman, will join the firm's business law and intellectual property departments and reside in the San Diego and Del Mar, Calif., offices.
Kaufman is joined by special counsel David Charapp in the business law department and Leslie Overman, who joins the IP practice.
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP tapped art lawyer Jo Backer Laird as of counsel. She spent 10 years as senior vice president and general counsel of auction house Christie's Inc.. Before joining Christie's, Laird spent 10 years at Morgan Stanley, where she covered both advisory and litigation work, including employment-related, securities and commercial matters. Laird began her career at Davis Polk & Wardwell, where she spent seven years in the litigation group.
In New York, DLA Piper LLP recruited Christopher Hall as a partner in the litigation group. Hall previously headed the civil securities litigation initiative at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP hired Feng Xue as chair of its China practice and a partner in the corporate practice. Previous to joining Katten, Xue was a partner in the Chicago office of DLA Piper LLP.
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP welcomed Alexander Zolfaghari as a partner in its corporate practice. Zolfaghari will reside in Sonnenschein's Charlotte, N.C., and New York offices. Most recently, Zolfaghari was a special counsel at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP elected eight partners and two counsel, effective Jan. 1. Partners include David Aman, financial transactions and securities regulatory matters; Marco D'Ostuni, European Community and Italian antitrust law and telecom and energy regulation; corporate attorney Adam Fleisher; Thomas Graf, European Community law including antitrust, regulatory affairs and intellectual property; litigator and arbitrator Joon Kim; Glenn McGrory, mergers and acquisitions; Christopher Moore, complex civil litigation; and Sean O'Neal, corporate restructuring, insolvency and bankruptcy, and related litigation.
The new counsel are Elizabeth Lenas, private equity fund formation and investments, and Pietro Merlino, European Community and Italian competition law.
Patton Boggs LLP snared Richard Andersen as a partner in New York, covering tax and international law. Previously, Andersen led the New York tax practice at Arnold & Porter LLP.
Senior trial lawyer Matthew Digby joined Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP as a partner, resident in Tokyo. Digby arrives from Bingham McCutchen LLP.