Jenner & Block

Commercial Litigators Michael McNamara, Kirsten Hicks Spira Join Jenner & Block as Partners in Los Angeles; McNamara Named Professional Responsibility Co-Chair

LOS ANGELES, April 4, 2016 – Jenner & Block is pleased to announce that Michael McNamara, a nationally recognized commercial litigator with more than 30 years of experience, is joining the firm as co-chair of the firm’s Professional Responsibility Practice.  Kirsten Hicks Spira, an accomplished trial attorney with wide-ranging experience litigating complex business disputes, is also joining the firm as a partner and will be a member of the firm’s Professional Responsibility Practice.  They will be based in the Los Angeles office.

Mr. McNamara and Ms. Spira handle a broad range of complex commercial cases, with a focus on professional liability matters, advising many of the largest law firms in the United States.  He has extensive experience handling a range of complex litigation matters involving malpractice, securities, fraud, RICO, antitrust, intellectual property, insurance, class actions, breach of contract, real estate and employment.  She also has vast experience representing clients in business, employment, entertainment and shareholder disputes at trials, arbitrations and governmental administrative hearings.

“We are thrilled to have Mike and Kirsten join the team and build on the firm’s tradition of handling complex commercial litigation and professional liability matters,” Jenner & Block Managing Partner Terrence J. Truax said.  “As leading lawyers in the California bar, their arrival to the firm also further strengthens our ability to handle litigation matters from coast to coast.”

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), Mr. McNamara has been consistently recognized as a leading litigator by Chambers USA, which has described him as “energetic and sophisticated” and a “clever, hardworking, and trustworthy trial lawyer.”  He has achieved a long list of favorable verdicts, judgments and settlements for his clients.  Among other wins, he obtained a $122 million verdict from a federal court jury in Intertainment v. Franchise, one of the largest plaintiffs’ verdicts in 2004.  Mr. McNamara and Ms. Spira also have considerable experience handling arbitrations, including securing a $40 million award for a client in the real estate industry.

Ms. Spira has tried, arbitrated and litigated a variety of complex cases.  Recently, she won a trial verdict in a CERCLA action awarding her client tens of millions of dollars in future clean-up costs and successfully arbitrated a high-profile dispute between partners in a large real estate development.

The two litigators come to Jenner & Block from Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where Mr. McNamara served as the national practice group leader of the Professional Liability and Malpractice Group.

“Jenner & Block’s reputation for handling professional liability matters is well known in the legal profession,” firmwide Litigation Chair Craig C. Martin said.  “Mike and Kirsten are established complex commercial litigators whose commitment to excellence for their clients is in perfect alignment with the direction of our platform, our culture and our work ethic.  Their experience as trial lawyers also further complements our deep bench of first-rate litigators.  We are delighted that they have joined us and that Mike is assuming a leadership role in the firm.”

Mr. McNamara will co-chair the firm’s Professional Responsibility Practice with Partners Terri L. Mascherin, John R. Storino and Norman M. Hirsch.  With Mr. McNamara’s arrival, the practice group has four Fellows of the American College within its ranks; the other Fellows are Partners Jeffrey D. Colman, William D. Heinz and Ms. Mascherin.

Ms. Mascherin said, “Mike and Kirsten are great additions to our Professional Responsibility Group.  I look forward to working with them as we expand the footprint of our practice to the West Coast.”

Rick Richmond, managing partner of Jenner & Block's Los Angeles office, said, “The firm’s Los Angeles office highlights our litigation capabilities, and the arrival of Mike and Kirsten will further strengthen our reach not just within the regional market but also nationally.”  The Los Angeles office is home to more than 40 lawyers.

“Kirsten and I are excited to be joining Jenner & Block’s powerhouse litigation practice,” Mr. McNamara said.  “There are many synergies between the firm’s platform and our current practices, and we look forward to further expanding the firm’s well-established Professional Responsibility Practice.”

Mr. McNamara currently serves as the Secretary of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL).  He received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of Lawand a B.A., with distinction, from Stanford University.  Ms. Spira received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law where she was a member of the California Law Review, and a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley.