Drinker's Retro Look; Jenner Raids the FCC; No Rest for Weary D.C. Lawyers
Washington Wrap is a weekly roundup of Big Law hires and other Washington, D.C., legal industry news. Read the previous edition here. Send tips and lateral moves to Katelyn Polantz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drinker Biddle & Reath’s recent D.C. office makeover didn’t take the legal industry’s newfangled, millennial-oriented design advice.
The Philadelphia-based firm instead chose to revamp its current office in the historic Southern Railway building with inspiration from the Gilded Age.
The space was due for a revamp. Drinker had combined its legacy lawyers at 1500 K St. NW in Washington with Gardner Carton & Douglas, a Chicago firm with a D.C. office down the street, a decade ago. Its 96 current lawyers still were spread throughout the building and somewhat cut off from one another.
Floor to floor, “it looked like a completely different firm,” now-regional partner in charge Maureen Donahue Hardwick said. Hardwick, who joined from Gardner Carton, at one point had employed wine parties to encourage lawyers to mix throughout the space. This renovation, which lasted 18 months and finished in February, continued her integration efforts, ensuring that every floor matches in style. The building hadn’t been renovated in 20 years.
Design elements in the renovation include dark-paned windows and light fixtures with triangle and rectangular designs–a kind of Art Deco-meets-Restoration Hardware aesthetic. The space has far fewer white walls, and instead uses deep browns, tans and grayish blues. Drinker’s total footprint in the building is now smaller by about 20,000 square feet.
There are also far fewer of the glass room dividers and exterior walls that many firms have favored for office renovations. Hardwick said her Drinker colleagues were attached to the building’s historical elements, such as the deep-set windows and their views of McPherson Square. The firm also had to keep three rooms almost entirely as-is because of the 88-year-old building’s history. Those are a large conference room with a marble fireplace and balconette, the railway’s original walnut-paneled board room and the president’s office.
“If 200 people in one place can have a personality, I think we do,” Hardwick said of the office.
While she’s thrilled with the office interior, Hardwick and others at the firm are heartbroken to lose a favorite lunch spot right outside the building, Pedro & Vinny’s burrito stand, which closed on Friday. “This week that’s all I’ve been eating. I cry at everything, and I won’t be able to look at him,” she said of the cart’s owner, John Rider.
The week’s lateral moves:
• Kia Scipio became the diversity and inclusion manager at Fish & Richardson in D.C. The intellectual property firm follows several others by expanding its focus on one of the most difficult areas for law firms to improve upon. Scipio previously worked at Georgetown University Law Center, building relationships with small and medium firms and handling diversity initiatives. She also previously worked for Paul Hastings and McKenna Long & Aldridge.
“For a lot of people, they want something different without doing anything differently,” Scipio said. She’ll have enough to do at her new firm: At the end of 2016, it counted seven out of 94 equity partners who identify as racial or ethnic minorities. In the 54-lawyer nonequity partnership, there were 11. The firm counted 41 minority associates out of 110 total.
• Hogan Lovells, which welcomed its summer associate class, launched a global LGBT and allies network called Pride+. The initiative aims to challenge stereotypes and anti-gay behavior and language and provide safe environments for individuals to come out if they choose. Hogan Lovells has offices in some of the most oppressive countries for gay rights, including in Moscow.
• Jenner & Block’s lateral train made another stop this week to pick up three new lawyers from the Federal Communications Commission in D.C. The firm added partner Howard Symons, the FCC’s former general counsel; counsel Roger Sherman, former chief of the wireless telecommunications bureau; and special counsel Johanna Thomas, former legal adviser to a commissioner at the FCC. Symons previously chaired the communications group at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, while Sherman long ago was at Wiley Rein, and then at the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Prior to the FCC, Thomas worked at Arnold & Porter.
Source: Law Journal