Press Releases

Litigation and Tax Quartet Join Sheppard Mullin San Francisco

Class Action Experts Further Expand Firm's Business Trial Capabilities Tax Expert Adds Depth

October 10, 2008

Peter S. Hecker, Neil A.F. Popovic, Anna S. McLean and Joanne M. Garvey have joined the San Francisco office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as partners.  Hecker, Popovic and McLean join the firm's Business Trial practice group, and Garvey joins the Tax practice.  The group most recently practiced together at Heller Ehrman in San Francisco.  This group brings to 10 the total number of Heller partners that have moved to Sheppard Mullin in recent months.

"With a variety of class action expertise, Peter, Neil and Anna add significantly to our litigation capabilities in San Francisco.  We continue to grow our Business Trial practice group, and this trio's broad industry experience is a valuable addition to our class action team," said Guy Halgren, chairman of the firm.  "Joanne is a preeminent tax professional who, like the others, brings her prestigious reputation as well as her legal talent to our practice," Halgren added.  

Commented Hecker, "With a strong litigation practice and a well-established San Francisco office, Sheppard Mullin offers an excellent platform for our practice.  I am impressed by Sheppard Mullin’s top notch attorneys, some of whom I have known well and admired for over 20 years, and in particular the firm's class action expertise." 

Hecker's practice emphasizes litigation and alternative dispute resolution in connection with consumer class actions.  He has extensive experience defending actions brought under California’s Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code Section 17200.  Hecker has substantial experience defending major consumer litigation, including cases involving alleged false advertising, product defects, and the disclosure of fees and services by a variety of businesses, including computer, software, telecommunications, rental car, self-storage, food and drug, insurance brokerage, and auto finance companies.  Hecker is also a nationally recognized authority on “force-placed” or collateral protection insurance (“CPI”) litigation brought by consumers against banks and other financial institutions.  

Hecker represented Hertz in class actions challenging the fuel and service charge in California, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada, including the leading cases of Guerra v. Hertz, 504 F. Supp. 2d 1014 (D. Nev. 2007), and Schnall v.  Hertz, 78 Cal. App. 4th 1144 (2000) and represented Palm in class actions alleging damage to personal computers from electrostatic discharge; and litigation challenging termination of its wireless service, in which class certification was denied.  Eichorn v. Palm, 2008 WL 102222 (Cal. Ct. App. 2008) (unpublished).

Popovic's practice includes international dispute resolution, consumer litigation and white collar criminal defense.  His litigation experience includes a wide range of commercial disputes, including consumer class actions, white collar criminal matters and international litigation and counseling.  Popovic also practices international environmental law, including representing clients in international negotiations.  He has taught courses in international law at Boalt Hall since 1996, and has published widely in law reviews.  His clients have included the Republic of Argentina, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Caremark, Inc., IMPAX Laboratories, ITT Sheraton Corporation, McDonald's Corporation, MCI, Inc., Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, Muzak Limited Partnership, RSA Security Inc., Seagate Technology, Global Capital Group and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

McLean's litigation practice emphasizes the defense of complex class actions alleging unfair business practices and products liability claims.  She has had significant experience litigating complex class action cases in both the consumer disclosure and products liability areas.  In her consumer class action practice, McLean has defended clients in a variety of industries with regard to alleged consumer disclosure issues, liquidated damages/penalty claims, fee and interest rate claims, and mortgage and auto lending issues.  In her products liability practice, she has represented major manufacturers in the tobacco, building products, and chemicals industries in multi-state class actions and public entity cost-recovery litigation.

Garvey's tax practice emphasizes state and local taxation.  She has represented clients in the United States Supreme Court and at all levels of the California court system, as well as in administrative proceedings within and without California.  She argued Barclays Bank v. Franchise Tax Board before the U.S. Supreme Court.  She has testified at legislative and regulatory hearings, including the hearings under U.S.-U.K. Tax Treaty, before the working group for the Presidential Commission on the Unitary tax, and on the California water's edge legislation.  She is the author of the Tax Management Portfolio Income Taxes: California Water's Edge Unitary Legislation.  Garvey served in both the American Bar and California Supreme Court commissions on rules for Multijurisdictional Practice.  She is the first recipient of the State Bar Taxation Section's "Joanne M. Garvey Award" for Lifetime achievement, as well as numerous awards for professional and community service including the prestigious "Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award" by the American Bar Association which honors outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and have actively paved the way to success for others.

Hecker received a J.D. from University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1973, Order of the Coif and a B.A., magna cum laude, with distinction, from Carleton College in 1970.  Popovic received a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1987, where he was an editor on the California Law Review, an M.A. from Tufts University in 1992, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Public International Law, and an A.B. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983.  McLean received a J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 1989 and a B.A., with high distinction, from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984.  Garvey received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law (1961) where she was on the California Law Review and Order of the Coif.  She received her undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley, with honors, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1956 and her masters degree from the same institution in 1957.

About Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP 

Sheppard Mullin is a full service AmLaw 100 firm with more than 550 attorneys in 11 offices located throughout California and in New York, Washington, D.C. and Shanghai.  The firm's California offices are located in Los Angeles, Century City, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Orange County, Santa Barbara, San Diego/Downtown and San Diego/Del Mar.  Founded in 1927 on the principle that the firm would succeed only if its attorneys delivered prompt, high quality and cost-effective legal services, Sheppard Mullin provides legal counsel to U.S. and international clients.  Companies turn to Sheppard Mullin to handle a full range of corporate and technology matters, high stakes litigation and complex real estate, land use and finance transactions.  In the U.S., the firm's clients include more than half of the Fortune 100 companies.