NEW YORK/DENVER, April 3, 2007 ─ Morrison & Foerster LLP today announced the selection of Steven M. Kaufmann as global chair of its 490-attorney Litigation Department. As chair, Mr. Kaufmann will provide strategic and operational direction to one of the largest groups of litigation specialists in any law firm and includes some of the top trial and appellate lawyers in the United States. Mr. Kaufmann’s charter is to broaden the Department’s dominant position in substantive and geographic areas that matter most to our clients. His focus will include strengthening the firm’s ability to serve clients in the U.S., Japan, China, and Europe in the areas of commercial disputes, antitrust, intellectual property, class actions, employment, financial services litigation, products liability, securities litigation and enforcement, and white collar defense. Mr. Kaufmann takes over department chair responsibilities from Lori A. Schechter, who will continue her active consumer class action and antitrust practice. Additionally, Wesley E. Overson will assume the role of Head of Litigation in San Francisco.
“Litigation is one of the firm’s core strengths. Steve is perfect for this critical job, and under his guidance I know we will advance our position as one of the go-to law firms advising the world’s most dynamic global companies,” said Keith C. Wetmore, Chair of Morrison & Foerster. Mr. Wetmore added, “Over the past four years, Lori has led the litigation practice with tremendous vision and stewardship. Her tireless efforts have been instrumental in the success and growth of the practice.”
The firm has added steadily to its roster of senior litigators, including the recent arrivals of: veteran trial attorney Dennis Orr, together with Thomas Mueller, Grant Esposito, and Stefan Engelhardt,in New York; noted white-collar attorneys Adam Hoffinger and Robert Salerno in the firm’s Washington office; former SEC Central Regional Director Randall Fons in Denver; prominent Southern California trial attorneys Jane Barrett and Angela Dotson in Los Angeles; and Roger Fones, former senior Justice Department Antitrust Division attorney, who served as chief of the Transportation, Energy, and Agriculture Section.
Mr. Kaufmann said, “I am fortunate to lead such a dynamic group of lawyers. My predecessor, Lori Schechter, laid an exceptional foundation that allows us to offer clients litigation teams that consistently deliver success in high-stakes, complex cases.”
Mr. Kaufmann is a partner in the firm’s Denver office and brings more than 20 years’ litigation experience and leadership to his new role. His practice focuses on class action defense and general commercial litigation, with particular expertise in consumer class actions, antitrust, securities, and employment litigation and counseling. He has represented companies in a broad range of industries, particularly in the telecommunications, technology, real estate, construction, financial services, and franchising sectors. Mr. Kaufmann’s recent cases include representing The Quizno’s Corporation before the Colorado Court of Appeals to defeat a challenge to a trial court’s approval of a securities class action settlement, and Bank of America before the Federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to successfully reject a judicial challenge to a favorable commercial arbitration decision previously obtained by the firm.
As a leader within the firm, Mr. Kaufmann previously held the positions of Managing Partner of the Denver office for 10 years, Co-Chair of the Consumer Litigation and Class Action Practice Group, and Chair of the E-discovery Task Force.
The firm is also pleased to announce that Wesley E. Overson will head the Litigation Group in San Francisco. In this capacity, Mr. Overson will oversee the function and general management of the office’s 180 litigators. Mr. Overson’s practice focuses on intellectual property disputes and complex civil litigation involving technological, scientific, and medical issues. Most recently, he has successfully tried cases on behalf of biotechnical, medical, and electronics companies.
Mr. Kaufmann received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1984. Before attending law school, Mr. Kaufmann worked for the Washington, D.C., consulting firm of ICF, Inc., where he focused on economic analysis of energy markets and related environmental issues. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge John L. Kane, Jr. Mr. Kaufmann served previously as Board Chair of the Colorado Lawyers Committee and the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation and currently serves on the Board of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center.
Mr. Overson received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1991. He also studied at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin, Germany, and is fluent in German.
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