Haynes and Boone added its first corporate lawyer in California this week, and he’s got his work cut out for him.
Bart Greenberg, former co-chair of Manatt’s venture capital and tech group, joined the Dallas-based Haynes and Boone as an equity partner yesterday, and he’s tasked with recruiting corporate, labor and employment, and commercial litigation lawyers into the firm’s Orange County office, he said.
It’s no cakewalk to start a corporate practice from scratch at a new branch office, especially when the firm’s not well known in the region. Greenberg concedes the lack of Haynes and Boone’s name recognition was a little bit of a concern at first.
His dream had been to start an Orange County office for a well-branded Silicon Valley firm like Wilson Sonsini or Fenwick & West – and even he’d never heard of Haynes and Boone when the call came from a recruiter in February. Greenberg says he was shocked there was a 500-some lawyer firm out there he’d never heard of.
Though Haynes and Boone is no Wilson Sonsini, the firm does have about 10 lawyers in Orange County, mostly IP litigators. And with its goal to become a full-service office, Greenberg said he thought it a pretty good opportunity to help build the place up.
Plus, Greenberg says he faced a similar challenge in 2001, when he joined then-Preston Gates & Ellis to get that firm’s Orange County corporate group off the ground.
“There were significant issues with nobody having heard about Preston Gates,” now K&L Gates.
He says he brought in a group of five lawyers back then, including partner David Perry, who is now the head of the Orange County office. Greenberg plans to get together with another recent Haynes and Boone hire (free reg. req.), Mike Halloran, to tap Halloran’s Silicon Valley contacts.
Bill Nason, a Southern California recruiter, said the addition gives Haynes and Boone a toehold in the corporate arena. “It’s a good start for Haynes and Boone,” Nason said. “You’ve got to start a corporate practice somewhere; Bart’s a good start.”