(Excerpts from this story were originally published in Reuters)
Nearly three years after it launched, litigation boutique Selendy & Gay on Monday promoted its first generation of new partners.
Joy Odom and Oscar Shine were among the first associates to join the New York-based firm when it opened in February 2018, said managing partner Jennifer Selendy. They will become members of the partnership on Jan. 1.
"They both had a crystal clear understanding, that is very unusual for associates, of what kind of rare opportunity it was to join our firm," Selendy said. "They're both savvy and they understand the opportunity and signed up early. They really helped us build the firm over the last two, almost three years."
Odom was an associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan before she followed Selendy, name partners Philippe Selendy and Faith Gay, and seven other Quinn Emanuel partners to the firm. Her practice focuses on structured financial products, securities, antitrust and contract disputes.
Shine was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell before he joined Selendy & Gay. His practice also includes securities, as well as multidistrict products liability litigation and labor employment disputes.
The promotions come near the end of a year when Selendy & Gay added 10 associates to its ranks and enjoyed a 60% increase in its client roster, Selendy said. The firm now has 12 partners, 38 associates, including Odom and Shine, and 12 staff attorneys.
The year has also brought unprecedented challenges tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, although Selendy said the firm didn't see "a big falloff" in case work. A slowdown in one case allowed the firm to take on other new matters, she added.
Selendy & Gay hasn't had to enact austerity measures in reaction to the pandemic. But even if the transition to remote work has been a success, Selendy said maintaining the firm's culture is a concern.
"That is challenging, to keep the excitement level and the collegiality and the collaboration that takes place when we're all in the office together," Selendy said. She noted that she's only met the firm's 10 new associates through Zoom: "That's tough. That's not what we planned for our firm."
As a result of the pandemic, several Big Law firms have been awarding associates special bonuses on top of traditional year-end bonuses in recent weeks. Selendy declined to detail the firm's plans, other than to note that last year, its bonuses exceeded the scale set by New York's elite Big Law firms.
"We have committed from the outset that our top-performing attorneys will be above the usually the highest point of the market," Selendy said. "We always play at the top of the market, and we will again this year."