Dewey, Dewey & Dewey: New rainmakers Rick Climan, Eric Reifschneider and Keith Flaum
In a lateral move that can only be compared to an earthquake rocking Silicon Valley’s legal world, the three men most synonymous with Cooley Godward’s formidable corporate practice — Richard Climan, Keith Flaum and Eric Reifschneider — are leaving for Dewey & LeBoeuf.
Leading M&A lawyers Climan and Flaum are rainmakers and longtime leaders at Cooley. Reifschneder was the head of Cooley’s tech transactions group.
The move shocked lawyers and recruiters throughout the state.
Reaction, and Rick Climan, after the jump.
“You’re ripping out the core of that corporate practice when you’re doing that,” said legal recruiter Alan Miles of Alan Miles and Associates. “Climan and Flaum together control a lot of business.”
Climan, who is on Cooley’s management committee and heads the firm’s M&A practice group, said the move wasn’t because of dissatisfaction at Cooley.
“We weren’t looking to leave Cooley — it’s a fantastic firm, it has matured significantly since we arrived, and our practices have thrived at Cooley,” Climan said. “Dewey with its global platform is simply a better fit for us at this stage in our careers.”
It’s a huge score for Dewey, which has struggled to even maintain a presence in Silicon Valley.
“Obviously they’re highly considered M&A lawyers — some of the preeminent ones in the Bay Area,” said Robert Townsend, an M&A partner at Morrison & Foerster. “It’s certainly a loss for Cooley.… I wish them luck building a franchise for Dewey.”
Climan said he couldn’t comment on whether the three-man team would be bringing over any associates or clients. All three have worked consistently for some of Silicon Valley’s biggest. Flaum, an American Lawyer magazine Dealmaker of the Year, has been a favorite at eBay, doing most of the online auctioneer’s biggest deals. Climan was a Dealmaker of the Week earlier this year after advising Gilead Sciences in its $1.4 billion acquisition of CV Therapeutics.
— Zusha Elinson
Bonus — Dewey's press release:
Dewey & LeBoeuf Announces the Arrival of Preeminent M&A Practice
New team enhances global M&A capabilities with strong technology sector experience
(New York, NY and Silicon Valley – July 7, 2009) — Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP announced today the impending arrival of preeminent Mergers & Acquisitions lawyers Richard E. Climan and Keith A. Flaum, together with leading technology lawyer Eric M. Reifschneider, all from Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, who join the firm's Silicon Valley office as partners.
Mr. Climan will serve on the firm’s Executive Committee and will lead the strategic expansion of the firm’s global M&A practice. Mr. Flaum will also take on a significant leadership role in that practice. Mr. Climan and Mr. Flaum are highly experienced in negotiating and advising buyers, sellers, boards of directors, special committees, investment banking firms and others on a wide variety of acquisition transactions and related matters, including stock acquisitions, asset acquisitions, mergers, divestitures, auction transactions, tender offers, hostile takeovers, defensive strategies, going-private transactions, leveraged buy-outs and cross-border transactions.
Formerly, Mr. Climan was firm-wide head of Cooley's M&A practice and a member of that firm's Management Committee. Mr. Climan is featured in the National Law Journal's most recent list of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” He also chaired the ABA’s prestigious Mergers & Acquisitions Committee from 2002 to 2006. Mr. Climan received an A.B. cum laude from Harvard College in 1974 and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1977.
"We're delighted to have this elite group join us," said firm Chairman Steven H. Davis. “Rick and Keith are two of the premier M&A lawyers in the U.S. By joining forces with our existing renowned practice, they give the firm one of the strongest global M&A practices in the world. Their practice not only significantly enhances our presence in California, but also nationally and globally."
Mr. Climan commented: "A global footprint is critical to remaining competitive in the M&A marketplace. As U.S.-based companies continue to expand their businesses internationally, Dewey & LeBoeuf provides an exceptional global platform as well as broad multi-sector expertise on which to continue building our practice.”
Mr. Flaum was named one of a dozen “Dealmakers of the Year” by The American Lawyer in 2006. He received a J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law, in 1989. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a Bachelor's degree in 1986.
Mr. Reifschneider was formerly the firm-wide head of Cooley's Technology Transactions Group. His practice focuses on transactions involving the acquisition, development and commercialization of technology for leading companies in the semiconductor, software, hardware, wireless communications and renewable energy industries. He is also highly experienced in the intellectual property aspects of mergers and acquisitions and has worked closely with Mr. Climan and Mr. Flaum on many major acquisitions.
In 2008, Mr. Reifschneider was recognized as one of the 500 leading lawyers in America by Lawdragon. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1992, where he served as executive editor of the Harvard Law Review. He has Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated first in his class.