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The highest-profile mover this week is white-collar criminal defender Stephen Best, who has joined Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Washington office after eight years at Dewey & LeBoeuf. There, he co-headed the firm’s white-collar practice and represented headline-grabbing clients such as Michaele and Tareq Salahi and billionaire Mark Cuban.

Best says Brownstein Hyatt—known primarily in the District as a lobbying firm—recruited him to build a white-collar-and-securities enforcement group. He couldn’t pass on the opportunity to build a practice from scratch. At his new firm, Best says, “the business model makes better sense in the long term… . I can have a flexible rate structure.” New York-based firms such as Dewey & LeBoeuf typically charge higher rates, something clients are losing patience with in this economy. Brownstein is based in Colorado.

There don't appear to be any hard feelings over Best's departure. Ralph Ferrara, vice chair of Dewey, notes his own close relationship with Brownstein Hyatt. He says he and lawyers there have worked together on numerous matters over the years and frequently refer business to one another. As for finding a partner to replace Best as co-head of Dewey's white-collar group, Ferrara says, "we've started poking around … we've got several leads." 

Also in law-firm moves, intellectual-property partner Paul Poirot has jumped from McDermott Will & Emery to Baker Hostetler’s Washington office. Poirot specializes in patent litigation.

With a new Congress coming to town, firms are beefing up their lobbying teams. Brownstein Hyatt may have gained Stephen Best, but it lost policy director Kyle Simpson, who has joined the legislative practice at Hogan Lovells.

Brown Rudnick’s government-relations practice picked up George Lowe, who served as chief of staff to senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski. Lowe was most recently president of Lowe Strategies.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has announced its new partners: Congrats are due to Emily Bell, an intellectual-property lawyer in the firm’s Northern Virginia office; Michael Steinig, a member of the global-sourcing practice in Washington; and Yann van Geertruyden, a Washington-based real-estate attorney.

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