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Managing Partner Keeps Dentons Involved in Community

Kurt Kicklighter has played an important role in keeping the Luce Forward, then McKenna Long and now Dentons, San Diego office focused on good legal work. But it is a challenge getting the new, international name out locally. The corporate office is probably not always impressed with local events. But Kicklighter is doing good local development work. First, he attends Business Journal events. That’s a must. Here are some other things he’s done: Dentons was a lead underwriter of the World Adaptive Surfing competition for physically challenged surfers this summer, and in October it hosted the first “Dentons Perspectives,” which featured Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean on the dais to address policy issues related to the presidential election. Good, hard work.

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Duckor Spradling Metzger & Wynne announced that Rose M. Huelskamp, William P. Keith, and Jonathan L. (“Jay”) Pettit have been named shareholders of the firm.

Huelskamp represents individuals and companies in employment, commercial, and business litigation, as well as in trust and estate litigation. Keith’s practice involves a variety of business and commercial litigation, including banking and securities litigation, admiralty and maritime, and employment and real estate litigation. Pettit is a registered patent attorney and former in-house counsel with more than 20 years of experience counseling technology clients on worldwide intellectual property strategies. He prosecutes patent applications and trademark registrations, and drafts and negotiates intellectual property licensing and other agreements.

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David S. Casey Jr. has been appointed by a San Francisco federal judge to the national VW Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee overseeing litigation targeting Volkswagen over its diesel emissions scandal. The managing partner of San Diego’s foremost plaintiffs’ firm CaseyGerry, Casey Jr. is the only San Diego attorney selected to serve on the committee, one of the largest in class-action history.

CaseyGerry was among the first firms to file a class action on behalf of several consumers — seeking compensation for them and those similarly affected by Volkswagen’s alleged fraud and alleged violation of state regulations. The MDL was formed with a goal of avoiding duplicative discovery, conserving resources and expediting resolution.

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Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP continues to expand its influence on the San Diego legal market with the addition of two experienced lateral attorneys who will strengthen the firm’s experience in the areas of construction litigation and commercial insolvency.

David A. Perkins has joined the firm’s construction group and William Smelko has joined the firm’s litigation team with a focus on bankruptcy. Both are of Counsel.

Perkins’ practice emphasizes business litigation as well as construction law and real estate litigation. Unique to many law firms, Perkins also offers mediation and arbitration services designed to foster resolution of complex construction and business cases. Perkins previously ran his own construction law firm, most recently serving as a construction executive with one the largest reinforcing steel subcontractors in the U.S.

Smelko has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in litigation, with an emphasis on business bankruptcy, restructuring and corporate governance disputes. His practice also involves advising credit unions and other financial institutions on a variety of bankruptcy-related matters. Smelko started his legal career at Sullivan, Jones & Archer, a boutique litigation firm specializing in antitrust and complex business litigation

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Procopio also recently announced the partnership has voted to extend Craig Ramseyer’s term on the Management Committee for an additional four years, and extended Bob Russell’s term as General Counsel of the firm for an additional two years.

Ramseyer joined Procopio in 2001 and was first elected to the management committee in 2009. He helped the firm navigate the challenges and opportunities arising out of the financial crisis and guided Procopio to become San Diego’s largest law firm.

“The overwhelming support for Craig is a tribute to his widely recognized commitment to the firm, as well as his good judgment, common sense, fairness, wisdom and inherent leadership qualities,” said Tom Turner, managing partner.

In addition to his Management Committee responsibilities, Ramseyer is the leader of the firm’s construction practice group. His practice emphasizes general business litigation, as well as construction law and litigation. In the business litigation area, Ramseyer has handled matters including partnership disputes, alter ego liability, and contractual disputes.

Russell, who served as managing partner from 1994-97 and who has been general counsel ever since, is the most senior partner at the firm. When Russell started his tenure as general counsel, Procopio had 35 attorneys and has grown to be the largest San Diego law firm with more than 145 attorneys.

The position of law firm general counsel was born out of a requirement from insurance carriers who wanted to be sure that at least one law firm partner was focused on mitigating risk. The job today includes client conflict reviews, reviewing firm contracts and managing all aspects of risk management, as well as helping to keep attorneys abreast in changes in the law and in professional responsibility requirements.

The job has become really complex as Procopio has seen growth dramatic in recent years, through lateral attorney hiring and the opening of offices in Silicon Valley and Austin.

Randy Frisch is vice chancellor of business administration at National University and is a former publisher of the San Diego Business Journal. He is licensed to practice law in California, Nevada and Idaho. He can be reached at rcfrisch@msn.com.

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