Mayer, Brown's Loss Is New Firm's Gain
April 30, 2001, Otis Bilodeau, Legal Times
In the latest shakeout of a well-known Washington Supreme Court practice, Mayer, Brown & Platt is losing four of its highly regarded litigators.
Appellate specialists Lawrence Robbins, Roy Englert, Jr., and Alan Untereiner, along with trial lawyer Gary Orseck, are leaving to form their own boutique, confirm Robbins and Untereiner. Joining them will be Donald Russell, an antitrust official at the Justice Department who has overseen the review of a host of telecommunications mergers since 1994.
The new firm, Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck & Untereiner, is slated to open for business in K Street offices on May 1. "We're certainly going to miss them," says Kenneth Geller, partner in charge of the Chicago-based Mayer, Brown's D.C. office. But he dismisses the suggestion that the departures will hobble the firm's appellate group, which he says numbers about 40 lawyers in D.C. and New York. "To the extent we need to replace them, we'll certainly do so," Geller adds.
Geller also notes that Robbins, who has argued 15 cases before the Supreme Court, has recently done more trial than appellate work. An assistant in the solicitor general's office under Presidents Reagan and Bush, Robbins, 49, says lately he has concentrated on commercial litigation, the defense of accounting firms in class actions, and representing clients in SEC investigations.
Englert, 43, and Untereiner, 40, have both made names for themselves arguing before the Supreme Court. Englert, who also served in the SG's office in the late '80s, has argued 11 cases at the high court, including a 1999 bankruptcy case that Mayer, Brown describes as "perhaps the most significant substantive bankruptcy case of the decade."
Untereiner, who worked for Joel Klein at Onek, Klein & Farr before joining Mayer, Brown about 10 years ago, gained some notoriety in 1995 after his 9-0 Supreme Court victory in Bailey v. United States, a criminal case few expected to yield a unanimous ruling. Untereiner has since taken on several product liability cases, representing clients in the automobile and pharmaceutical industries. Robbins and Untereiner decline to comment on which clients they may take with them.
Robbins says the venture sprang from "the prospect of turning 50" and a yearning to be entrepreneurial. "Hopefully this will allow us to be a little more adventurous in the kinds of matters we can take on and the ways we charge for that," he observes, adding, "I fully expect to make less money than I do here."
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