Dozens of Attorneys Leave Irell & Manella to Open New Firm
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Over thirty attorneys have left Irell & Manella to create their own firm.

Summary: Over thirty attorneys have left Irell & Manella to create their own boutique law firm.

The Recorder reports that seven partners and twenty-five associate attorneys have quit Irell & Manella and will be opening a high-end litigation boutique firm in Southern California. Roughly one-sixth of Irell’s attorneys have left the firm to open the boutique.


The new firm is called Hueston Hennigan. On Monday, it launched with seven former Irell partners, and selected around twenty-five associate attorneys from the firm to join them.

John Hueston said, “We had kind of an embarrassment of riches. We had no idea that so many of our colleagues would be willing to follow in our ranks. We had a lot of unsolicited requests to join.”

In August, a corporate media team left Liner for Irell & Manella.

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Alison Plessman, Alexander Giza, Moez Kaba, Douglas Dixon, and Marshall Camp are the partners joining the firm.

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Apparently, many associates were not satisfied with the bonuses at Irell. While they were above-market levels, many felt they just were not quite high enough. Hueston explained that the new firm is “purely a trial law and complex litigation boutique focusing with a specialty on what I call the bet-the company cases with a triple threat”—that is, those cases that require criminal, civil, and regulatory expertise. The firm will also practice trade secrets, white-collar criminal defense, and business litigation.

In 2012, some Irell attorneys received bonuses of up to $75,000.

Hueston was with Irell since 2006, when he left the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he served on the Enron Task Force and assisted in the prosecution of Kenneth Lay.

Hueston admitted he had daydreamed about creating his own firm for years, and that the execution of it only took weeks to accomplish. “We have enjoyed working with each of them over the years, and we wish them well in their new endeavor,” Andrei Iancu, Irell’s managing partner commented.

Many large law firms awarded big bonuses in December.

Hueston is hopeful that at least a majority of the partners’ clients will make the switch with them. “So far we’re batting a thousand,” Hueston said. Some of the partners’ clients include Waste Management, one of the Koch brothers, Amgen, Allergen, GlaxoSmithKline, T-Mobile, and CoreLogic.

The firm will have offices in Newport Beach and Los Angeles, but does not anticipate opening additional branches.

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