John Quinn accepts executive chairman role at Quinn Emanuel
Two co-managing partners have been appointed as part of a formal leadership transition by litigation giant
The firm's co-founder and longstanding managing partner, John Quinn, has become chairman. As a result, two new managing partners will now help Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan navigate the business.
William Burck, a white collar defence and government investigations partner based in Washington DC and Michael Carlinsky, a litigation lawyer based in New York, are promoted to the new positions.
This was made after a 12-person service committee was established in 2020. Quinn, who will be 71 years old this year, will remain an executive in the company despite the appointments. His absence from the front line of the firm does not imply any intention to step back.
Quinn explained: "By strengthening and expanding the leadership of our firm, we are showing that Quinn Emanuel is built for the long haul. Mike and Bill are renowned attorneys who have had a significant impact on the success of both our offices in Washington, DC and New York. The entire firm stands to benefit from working closely with them in the years to come."
Since Quinn founded the firm with three other lawyers in 1986, it has grown into a top 30 US law firm with over $1.66bn in revenue last year. The firm has 900 lawyers based in 29 offices including, nine in Europe, five in Australasia and two in the Middle East.
The firm's strategic milestones were the opening of its New York office shortly after its formation and the decision not to represent Wall Street banks. Its London office, which generated $175 million last year, was opened in 2008.
Since joining Quinn Emanuel just over a decade ago, Burke has served as both co-president and co-chair of three practice groups: crisis law and strategic planning, regulatory litigation and government enforcement and white collar criminal defence. The incoming Quinn Emanuel leader previously served as deputy counsel to President George W. Bush. He was also deputy staff secretary for the White House. He has been described as a "Washington super lawyer" by the New York Times.
A veteran of commercial litigation, Carlinsky joined the firm more than two decades ago after working for just under 10 years at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. 1989 was the year he began his career at Weil Gotshal & Manges as an associate. As a partner in the firm's New York office, he heads global complex litigation, and he co-chairs insurance litigation.
In announcing John's new role, Name partner Kathleen Sullivan said, "John has led our firm to an extraordinary level of global reach and scale and it makes complete sense for him to move farther up in the firm's ranks." Michael and Bill are renowned lawyers with dazzling legal skills as well as incredible business acumen. John will be able to manage the firm more effectively with them on board."
There is some similarity between Quinn's new appointments and those at another prestigious US law firm led by a charismatic and successful founder.
As part of the firm's succession planning in December 2019, Boies Schiller Flexner has named Nick Gravante and Natasha Harrison co-managing partners. They will support the chairman and co-founder David Boies, a critical step in the firm's leadership succession plan.
At the helm of the firm is Boies - who is 81 years old - while Gravante and Harrison have both left, Harrison to open his own boutique company in London with most of Boies Schiller's London staff.