Last month, Midwestern firm Polsinelli Shughart raided Bryan Cave. Approximately 22 attorneys from Bryan Cave’s Phoenix, D.C., and Chicago offices spread their wings and flew over to Polsinelli. The Phoenix flock was the largest, consisting of 12 partners and associates.

When a big group of attorneys leave, it sometimes spooks those left behind. We hear that one partner at Bryan Cave was really spooked.

The attorneys that left had all been on the 22nd floor, the main floor of the Phoenix office on which clients are greeted. Their departure left the floor eerily vacant, so the firm asked some partners and attorneys to move into the empty offices. One of those asked to move was longtime partner Bob Shely. He felt his new office was tainted, though; according to reports circulating widely at the two firms, he said it had an “evil feeling.”

I see defected people?

According to the rumor mill, he wanted the carpets torn out and the office renovated. But a recruiting coordinator at the firm offered a cheaper solution: a do-it-yourself spiritual cleansing kit….

A quick Google search indicates that you can get one of these for less then $20, to banish any head-spinning (or backstabbing) “presences” left behind after a massive Biglaw defection.

Robert “The Exorcist” Shely

The “spiritual cleansing” allegedly took place on Monday. Shely and the recruiting coordinator — who has been described to us as “a bit kooky” — were present, as was partner Steve Hirsch, a member of the Executive Committee.

We haven’t been able to find out exactly what took place during the cleansing. We imagine the kooky recruiting coordinator and Bob “The Exorcist” Shely burning herbal candles and sprinkling water blessed by the firm’s managing partner around the possessed office, while chanting, “The Power of Biglaw compels you!”

We’ve never been to Phoenix. Maybe we’re blinded by our atheistic, spiritually-devoid New York glasses. We know many Native American tribes call Arizona home. Perhaps this is standard shamanic practice there?

“No,” says a local source. “We don’t normally do spiritual cleansings in Phoenix.”

We checked in with a Bryan Cave spokesperson about these reports of 22 attorneys who departed, the spiritual cleansing kit, the exorcism, and whether it was successful. His initial response did not address all of our questions:

Hello. According to our records, 19 Bryan Cave attorneys from Phoenix and D.C. joined Polsinelli Shughart.

Uh-oh. Maybe there are three spirits still lingering in Shely’s office?

A source told us that two Christian employees at Bryan Cave complained to HR about the unorthodox office renovation. So we replied and asked the press person about that. He then responded:

No “exorcism” took place in the Phoenix office of Bryan Cave LLP.

We noted the careful use of quotation marks, and then asked whether a “spiritual cleansing” took place. To which he responded:

Hi, Kashmir. I have no comment.

Bryan Cave just took bizarre partner behavior to a whole new spirited level.


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