Heller Ehrman, Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs: Covington & Burling Snaps Up Heller’s IP Department

Covington Burling LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGIt turns out that the mystery meeting at Covington & Burling involved some great news for Covington, and some bad news for Heller Ehrman.

Fifteen IP partners will be leaving Heller to join Covington, as Covington expands into Silicon Valley. The Daily Journal reports that in the wake of the latest defections and yesterday’s failed merger, Heller Ehrman has decided to stop seeking merger options:

Heller management told the firm attorneys Monday that they are going to cease merger pursuits and “try to go it alone,” the Heller attorney said. But some legal observers said this could be a sign of Heller’s imminent dissolution. Heller partners have been in clustered meetings all day, the Heller attorney said.

Guess San Francisco isn’t far enough west to escape the tough economic climate for law firms.

This should be great news for Covingtion, and you would think they would want to spread the word about their hiring coup. But apparently not. A tipster’s report on yesterday’s firm-wide meeting:

First came the ten-minute lecture regarding tipping off the blogs, and then the news about Silicon Valley. It surprises me that they were so freaked out about the spread of positive news in the scary economy.

It surprises us too. It’s hardly a bad thing if Covington’s surrogates do a better job of publicizing the firm than Covington’s own PR people.

As always, we thank all of our tipsters who are willing to sit through ten minutes of “lawyer talk” in order to bring us the latest information.

Partners Leave Heller as Mayer Backs Off [Law.com]

Heller Ehrman, Mayer Brown Merger Is Off [Daily Journal] (subscription)]

Earlier: Covington & Burling’s Mystery Meeting

Law Firm Merger Mania: The Heller / Mayer Merger Is Off

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