Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, January 17, 2008


Page 3


Murchison & Cumming, LLP Names Jean M. Lawler as Managing Partner


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


Jean M. Lawler has taken over as managing partner of Murchison & Cumming, LLP.

The Los Angeles attorney, who took over the post Jan. 1, told the MetNews that her elevation marked a new chapter in the firm’s 77-year history, but said that she did not expect any “major changes” to the firm’s “very solid” practice beyond the normal “change that comes with the times.”

Lawler first associated with the firm in 1985 and became its first female partner in 1993. She said she looked forward to working “with current clients and potential clients to let them see what we can do and further enhance the firm’s reputation for quality and excellence.”

She succeeds Friedrich W. Seitz, who had served as the firm’s managing partner since 1986 and will continue to serve as chair of its Product Liability and International practice groups.

“Jean has the leadership and strategic vision to bring continued success to the firm,” Seitz said. “I am pleased that she has agreed to step into this role.”

Lawler graduated from Loyola Law School in 1979, and was admitted to the State Bar of California that year. She was also admitted to the State Bar of Oregon in 1981.

In addition to her duties as managing partner, Lawler will continue to chair the firm’s Insurance Law and Business Transactions practice groups. She said that one of her priorities will be continuing an internship program founded by Seitz in the early 1990s that brings German legal trainees, or Rechtsreferendare, to California in order to familiarize them with the American legal system by observing lawyers in depositions, mediations, arbitrations and trials.

A past president of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel—the only woman to have served in that position—Lawler has also served as a Director of the Defense Research Institute, Lawyers for Civil Justice, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel and the FDCC Foundation.

She is a frequent author and speaker on topics relating to the insurance industry and, in 2005, co-founded the National Seventh Amendment Summit on the Right to Trial by Jury, “The American Jury Trial - Do We Allow Its Death or Lead Its Rebirth?”, a joint project of the FDCC and ABOTA. 

Murchison & Cumming, LLP is a civil litigation firm with five offices in California and Las Vegas.

* * *

The law firm of Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP announced yesterday that three of its attorneys, including one in its Los Angeles office, have been elevated to partner.

Michael J. Mehall, a member of the Products Liability Group in the firm’s Los Angeles office, became partner effective Jan. 1. He was joined by Richard R. Ames, from the firm’s Toxic Torts Group, and Alan P. Jacobus, part of its Insurance Group, who are members of the firm’s San Francisco office.

“We are fortunate to have experienced a stand-out 2007, thanks in large part to the contributions of many of our more junior partners and our up-and-coming partners statewide,” managing partner David Rice said. “For our clients and their businesses, we must ensure the healthy evolution of the firm, and we have great confidence in Richard, Alan and Michael as future leaders – both internally and on behalf of their clients.”

Mehall, a litigator, focuses on defense of manufacturers against products liability and other major liability claims.

An active member of the Defense Research Institute and an adjunct professor at California State University at Los Angeles, he was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1996 after graduating from Loyola Law School that year. He earned a masters degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1994, and graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1992.

Ames focuses on litigation of asbestos matters. Admitted to the State Bar of California in 1996 he graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law that year, and graduated with honors in English literature from Gonzaga University in 1992.

Jacobus, who focuses on insurance coverage litigation and analysis, has been regularly published and has presented extensively on legal liability within the insurance industry. He graduated cum laude from Tulane University of Louisiana Law School in 1993 after earning a degree in classics summa cum laude from the university in 1990.

Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, has approximately 75 attorneys and offices in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

* * *

The law firm of DLA Piper announced yesterday that Wilbert Watts Jr. has been promoted to partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Watts, an attorney in the firm’s Real Estate practice group, practices in all areas of real estate representing major financial institutions, investment funds, and insurance companies.

He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2003 after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1999. He also graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 1996.

Watts was one of 69 attorneys promoted to partner by the firm in the last year. He represented the firm at the 2007 Georgetown University Law Center Advanced Commercial Leasing Institute, and serves as co-chair of the firm’s Los Angeles office hiring committee and as a representative for its Los Angeles diversity committee.

DLA Piper has 3,600 lawyers in 25 countries and 64 offices throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia.


Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company