Biglaw, Layoffs, Partner Issues, Staff Layoffs

Nationwide Layoff Watch: One Firm’s Flight From Atlanta

The Big Peach turns sour for one leading law firm.

It seems that “Hotlanta” was less than sizzling for one major law firm. A Biglaw shop has decided to beat a retreat from Atlanta, shuttering its money-losing operation down in the ATL.

What prompted this firm to hop on the midnight train from Georgia? And how many people will be affected by the office closing?

We heard the following this morning from a tipster:

Epstein Becker & Green is shutting its Atlanta office, two years after the Real Estate Group decamped for DLA Piper with EBG managing partner Maxine Hicks. But you didn’t hear it from me.

We asked this source for additional reaction, which was as follows:

I think they are reaping their just reward.

Ouch. Sounds like how General Sherman felt about Atlanta.

Here is confirmation and additional detail on the closing, from Casey Sullivan of Thomson Reuters:

Epstein Becker & Green intends to close its 14-lawyer office in Atlanta, a law firm leader said in an interview on Tuesday.

“We expect to wind down and to have our lawyers out of that space by the end of the year,” said the firm’s Washington-based vice chairman, Mark Lutes. He called the decision a cost-saving measure, saying that the Atlanta office had been a money-losing operation for several years….

Speaking about the Atlanta issue, Lutes said: “We would rather take the funds used to sustain (Atlanta) and apply it to growth elsewhere.”

Epstein Becker opened the Atlanta office in 2000, hoping to pursue real estate work. But the defection of Maxine Hicks to DLA Piper in 2011 dealt the office a significant blow.

The Atlanta office was home to 14 lawyers, who practiced in the health care, labor and employment, and corporate sectors. On the bright side, some of them might still be able to work at EBG:

Lutes said some of those lawyers may be able to work out an arrangement to keep working at Epstein Becker, either out of a smaller satellite office in Atlanta or at a different office within the firm.

The Atlanta members include managing shareholder Kenneth Menendez; healthcare members Robert Berg, Andrew Lemons and Alan Wynne; labor and employment members Kristie Brooks Smith, Jeffery Saxby, Evan Rosen, Frederick Dawkins; and corporate members Michael Coleman and John Sivertsen.

The firm might be withdrawing from Atlanta, but it’s adding capacity in other locations. Last month, it hired Jeffrey Lieberman, who joined EBG’s New York office from Clifford Chance. In January, it hired Lee T. Polk, who joined EBG’s Chicago office from Barnes & Thornburg, and Linda Tiano, who rejoined the firm after an in-house tour of duty.

Is the Atlanta closing an isolated occurrence, or does it suggest other issues at Epstein Becker? The firm is representing Faruqi & Faruqi in the Alexandra Marchuk litigation — but that matter, while completely insane, can’t keep an entire firm busy.

If you have information to share, about Epstein Becker or any other notable law firm, feel free to email us or text us (646-820-8477).

Epstein Becker plans to shutter 14-lawyer Atlanta office [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Nobody Puts Faruqi in the Corner

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