Boutique Law Firms, Job Searches, Litigators, Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs: Shearman & Sterling and Baker Botts Partners Start New Firm

New Shingle new law firm.JPGYesterday the news broke that Steven Molo, of Shearman & Sterling, and Jeffrey Lamken, of Baker Botts, were leaving their respective firms to start a new litigation boutique. It will be called MoloLamken and start out with offices in New York and D.C. Am Law Daily reports that the firm represents the new recession model for business generation:

If there is a firm model built for the dawning post-recession era, it’s probably a litigation boutique with low overhead and a flexible billing structure….

The firm will start with four partners and two associates, and will work on both plaintiffs and defense cases. Within five years, Molo says he hopes to have around 50 lawyers. “Over time, clients have become far more sophisticated in hiring firms,” he said. “They understand how a firm like this can be small but every bit as efficient or even more so than a larger firm.”

But are they hiring? Details after the jump.

Given the weakness in the legal job market, any new firm headed by big name partners is likely to draw a lot of attention. MoloLamken is looking to hire people, but law students should save themselves the trouble. A spokesperson for MoloLamken told Above the Law about its hiring needs:

[T]he firm will hire only associates with at least two years’ of experience, preferably more, with an emphasis on those who served as judicial clerks. In addition, the firm will do no law school recruiting and have no summer associate program, thus allowing it to avoid overhead that is non-essential to its model.

Sorry law students, but you guys kind of do look like unnecessary overhead for a flexible start-up.
But this could be a great opportunity for laid-off Biglaw types who had their career stunted by economic layoffs. It’s time to get off the couch, put down the bottle, and dust off that old recommendation you have from the judge you clerked for.
The larger question is whether more partners are thinking of making a move just like Steve Molo and Jeff Lamken. Clients want pricing flexibility. If large firms are slow to respond, there could be a real market for new boutiques. Equity partners who haven’t lost their entrepreneurial spirit should take note.
MoloLamken [official website]
Stars from Shearman & Sterling and Baker Botts Defect to Start Litigation Boutique [Am Law Daily]

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