It seems that the firm of Patton Boggs is stuck in the mud right now. Back in March, the firm announced significant layoffs of attorneys and staff — possibly the biggest in 2013, at least until this morning’s Weil Gotshal layoffs. Patton Boggs is also feeling some heat over its involvement in the Chevron / Ecuador litigation mess (fifth link).
And now we have news that a sizable number of Patton partners are heading for the exit. How many partners are leaving, and where are they headed?
Please note the UPDATE at the end of this post.
Here’s a report from the Washington Post:
Seventeen partners last week announced their intention to leave storied Washington law and lobby firm Patton Boggs, a firm spokesman confirmed Monday.
More than half of the partners worked out of the firm’s Dallas office, but the defections also include partners in Washington and Denver. Patton Boggs spokesman Elliott Frieder said the partners have not left yet, but will be leaving soon.
Where are they going? The Post piece doesn’t say, and Patton Boggs did not respond to our request for comment. But we’ve learned that at least some of them, an unknown number at the current time, will be launching a Dallas office for Holland & Knight, according to a spokesperson for that firm.
In some sense it’s not surprising to see defections from Patton Boggs. The firm recently showed up on a top ten list of firms with the biggest partner compensation spreads in the Am Law 200. Firms with high spreads often experience greater lateral churn than firms with low spreads. When some “partners” earn 18 times as much as other partners at the same firm, as is the case at Patton Boggs, it’s hard to maintain a cohesive firm culture that keeps defections to a minimum.
We expect there’s a lot going on at Patton Boggs that we haven’t yet covered. Let us know, by email or text message (646-820-8477), if you know which way the wind blows at Patton Boggs.
UPDATE (5:10 p.m.): One tipster claims that some of the departing partners are the ones who were spoken to back in March about performance issues. That’s also the implication of partner Robert Luskin’s remarks to the Blog of Legal Times: “This is really Act 2 of a play we previewed a few months ago.”
Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Patton Boggs Blows Folks Out the Door
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Major Cuts Come To Weil Gotshal
Which Firms Have The Biggest Gaps Between Their Highest- and Lowest-Paid Partners?