Dechert adds high-profile lawyer to N.Y. office

Posted: August 25, 2013

Philadelphia firm Dechert L.L.P. has hired big-name lawyer David M. Bernick, who represented Dow Chemical in its court fight with Rohm & Haas in 2009, for its New York litigation department. He joins as partner.

Grabbing Bernick is a coup for Dechert and continues significant hires at the 950-lawyer Center City firm. Other recent notable arrivals as the firm expands globally include Hector Gonzalez of Mayer Brown; Neil Gerrard of DLA Piper; federal prosecutor Jon Streeter; and New York appellate Judge James McGuire.

Robert Heim, senior partner in Dechert's Philadelphia litigation department, said: "Dave was a brilliant strategist [and] great in the courtroom."

Bernick, whose cases have involved securities, mass tort, white-collar, and environmental litigation, had been with the Chicago firm Kirkland & Ellis L.L.P. for more than 30 years. He served as general counsel for Philip Morris International Inc. in Switzerland.

For the last year, Bernick has worked for the firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner L.L.P. in New York, one of whose named partners is celebrated trial lawyer David Boies.

Boies, 72, famously - though unsuccessfully - represented Vice President Al Gore before the Supreme Court over the contested 2000 presidential election.

Bernick said in a phone interview that he would begin Monday at Dechert's New York office and that he believed the Philadelphia firm was the "right fit."

The Boies Schiller firm defends clients but also sues corporations. Bernick said he wrestled with conflict-of-interest issues involving former clients. "There were people I couldn't work for because" Boies Schiller "was adverse to them," Bernick said, adding that he did not want that to "handicap my practice."

Bernick, 59, chose Dechert after conducting research and with the help of headhunting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, he said.

Bernick's clients include tobacco and chemical companies. He brings to Dechert a Dow Chemical antitrust case in Kansas and a case involving two Indian tribes suing New York banking regulators. The tribal case, Bernick said, is not one he would typically take, but "it has broader public implications."

Contact Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or

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