Willkie Farr is getting raided.

But it’s not an entirely bad thing. Instead of losing talent to a rival law firm, Willkie is losing talent to a top client. Bloomberg LP has decided to beef up its in-house presence, and it’s doing it with a boatload of Willkie attorneys.

Is this a good thing for Willkie? The firm will remain Bloomberg’s outside counsel, but there could be much less work coming from the client.

And Willkie did feel the need to send an email to all their people to make sure nobody freaked out….

I think this move will be a net positive for Willkie. First of all, according the the Bloomberg press release, the company needs more in-house lawyers because it wants to grow, not because it wants to shift work away from outside counsel:

Bloomberg LP announced today that five partners from Willkie Farr & Gallagher will be coming to Bloomberg as full- time employees to join the existing Bloomberg legal team, effective January 1, 2012. The newly constituted internal legal team will include Dick DeScherer, Dan Grossman, David Levine, Carol Mascera and Sarah Osborn from Willkie. DeScherer will become Chief Legal Officer…

“As a growing company operating in almost 200 locations around the world, we are finding unprecedented opportunities for growth in our customer base, our product offerings and our local partners. Bloomberg will benefit greatly from a ramp-up of both the number and range of expertise of in-house legal staff to ensure we are much more efficient and nimble as we seek to take advantage of these global opportunities” said Bloomberg CEO Daniel L. Doctoroff.

A rising tide of globalization lifts all boats?

If Bloomberg expands, there will still be plenty of work for outside counsel to do. And with five additional Willkie partners on board, it feels like Willkie has really locked up the client for the foreseeable future.

And, not for nothing, but it doesn’t hurt Willkie recruiting to say that not only can you work on the Bloomberg account, but if you do well, the company might just hire you.

That said, there’s an awful lot of talent leaving the firm. Here’s Willkie’s attempt to manage the anxiety of its people:

For many years we have been privileged to handle almost all of Bloomberg LP’s legal matters with a dedicated team of attorneys. Effective January 1, 2012, some core members of that team, including our partners Dick DeScherer, Dan Grossman, David Levine, Carol Mascera and Sarah Osborne, as well as a number of counsel and associates, will move in-house at Bloomberg. Willkie will continue to serve as the company’s primary outside counsel. Given the profile of the team, we wanted to let you know first hand about this change. A press release will be issued by Bloomberg shortly that we will also circulate.

We look forward to working with our colleagues in their new in-house roles and to our continued representation of Bloomberg. Please join us in wishing a successful transition to those involved in this new chapter of our client’s growth.

The Executive Committee

Hey, if those people are leaving, it’s just an opportunity for new talent to rise up and make it rain.

Bloomberg LP to Expand In-House Legal Department [Bloomberg]


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