Musical Chairs, Partner Issues

Musical Chairs: Patrick Bradford Leaving Davis Polk to Pursue ‘Government Service’

DavisPolk Davis Polk Wardwell new logo DPW.jpgEarlier this week, a reader drew our attention to an interesting development. The biography of Patrick Bradford, a prominent New York litigator and the first African-American partner at the white-shoe firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, has been removed from DPW’s (hottie-laden) website.

“No idea why,” said our source, “but Davis seems like a place where disappearings are rare.”

Indeed. It’s one of a handful of super-elite firms, like Cravath and Wachtell and Sullivan & Cromwell, where partners rarely leave. When they do, there’s often a story behind the departure. See, e.g., Carlos Spinelli-Noseda and John O’Brien, formerly of Sullivan & Cromwell.

We followed up by calling the firm yesterday. The first time we called the main number, the receptionist hung up on us after we asked for Pat Bradford. This was very un-Davis of her, since DPW is known for its passive-aggressive uber-polite, genteel, “kinder and gentler” atmosphere.

We called back, and this time we were connected to a secretary who put us into Bradford’s voice-mail. We left him a voice-mail and followed up with an email. Today Bradford confirmed his departure from DPW, in a short statement to ATL:

I have withdrawn from my firm to pursue a position in government service.

A smidgen of speculation, after the jump.

Perhaps Pat Bradford is leaving for the Obama Administration? He donated / raised a pretty penny for the Obama campaign.

But the wording of Bradford’s statement struck one of our sources as strange:

It is odd that he’s leaving to “pursue” a position in government service, as opposed to accepting one. Or am i ready between the lines too much there?

(Maybe — but we can hardly fault this tipster. Lawyers are paid to parse statements and to read between the lines.)

We asked Bradford for more information about his new government position, but he has not yet responded. We also reached out to a Davis Polk spokesperson, but the firm did not get back to us by the time of this posting.

Bradford, by the way, is a graduate of Harvard College (1986) and NYU Law School (1989). He has been admitted to practice in New York since 1990.

If you have more information about this mysterious departure, please feel free to email us (subject line: “Patrick Bradford”). Thanks.

UPDATE (9/11/2012): A commenter on this post claims that “the mystery of Patrick Bradford is no mystery at all. He left Davis Polk to become a court attorney with the NYC Civil Court. See here and here.” But I think there’s still a mystery here, namely, why Bradford would leave the DPW partnership to become a state court attorney — as opposed to a state court judge, or even a federal judge.

Patrick Bradford [Avvo]
Patrick Bradford [LinkedIn]
Volunteer Group Continues Campaign for More Minority Partners [New York Lawyer]

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