When we last wrote about goings-on at Howrey, the once-strong law firm that’s now experiencing troubled times, we mentioned the possibility of partner losses in the Chicago office. The firm pushed back on this, denying knowledge of any imminent defections in the Windy City.
It now seems, however, that additional partner departures may be on the horizon — in Chicago, and elsewhere too. As reported in Crain’s Chicago Business (via WSJ Law Blog), the Chi-town powerhouse of Winston & Strawn recently discussed a possible merger with Howrey — but then decided against that approach, opting instead to pick off specific groups and partners from Howrey.
The Howrey situation is starting to look a lot like what happened to Heller Ehrman. A well-respected firm with a widely admired culture encounters business difficulties. Key partners and groups (especially IP) start leaving for greener pastures or more stable platforms. A potential white knight emerges — Mayer Brown in Heller’s case, and Winston & Strawn in Howrey’s — but then decides to order a la carte from the menu of partners, practices and offices, instead of going for the chef’s tasting menu.
A distressed employee of the firm sets up a blog to serve as a clearinghouse for updates. Heller had Heller Highwater, and Howrey had Howrey Doin’.
But now it looks like Howrey Doin’ is… done. If you surf over to http://howreydoin.wordpress.com/, the blog’s former address, you learn that “[t]he authors have deleted this blog.”
What the heck happened? We have a statement from the author of the blog, as well as a response from the firm.
* Elie here: Remember yesterday when I said that it was a prick move by the cop to issue that ticket on the mother of that comatose 13-year-old girl, and then all those commenters said the cops had no choice because issuing the ticket was an important matter in terms of the civil liability of the driver? Yeah, well, I stand by my initial analysis that the cop was a jerkhat. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]
* How can lawyers dress to impress in 2011? [Lawyerist]
* So let me get this straight, it’s not okay for me to drink Four Loko and drive, but it’s okay for my car to do it? What’s up with that? [Alt Transport]
* Were passports biased against gays? Well, now they won’t be. [Huffington Post]
* If you’ve been following along with the most important news of today — which is obviously that the study showing that a crying woman is a total buzzkill — here’s an important counterpoint. Crying might be nature’s way of saying: “Stop beating on your wife you freaking a**hole. [Newsweek]
Yesterday we reported on a change in management at Nixon Peabody. We understand that some people at Nixon hope that the shift at the top will be followed by a return to Nixon Peabody’s old law firm culture.
But maybe NP people will have to get ready to assimilate into an entirely different culture? A well-placed tipster reports that some Locke Lord partners were told that the firm is exploring a possible merger with Nixon Peabody.
Locke Lord denies the rumor, while Nixon Peabody won’t comment. But our sources have been right before, especially when it comes to potential mergers…
Peter Crossley of Hammonds and James Maiwurm of Squire Sanders
A hot trend for the law firm world in 2010: transatlantic mergers. This year we’ve seen the creation of Hogan Lovells, from Hogan & Hartson and Lovells, and SNR Denton, from Sonnenschein and Denton Wilde. Today we learn of a third U.S./U.K. law firm merger: the combination of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and the British firm of Hammonds, to form a behemoth with 1,275 lawyers in 37 offices and 17 countries (according to the merged firm’s new website).
The merger was approved by both partnerships over the weekend and will take effect on January 1, 2011. The combined entity will be in the top 25 firms by number of lawyers, with gross revenue of $625 million (based on 2009 figures).
As you may recall, not everyone was a fan of this merger. The famously outspoken John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel, for example, characterized it as “[t]wo rocks that think if they hug each other tight enough they won’t sink.”
But enough of the Debbie Downer sentiments. Let’s look at all the positive aspects of this transaction, shall we?
Ed. note: Law Shucks focuses on life in, and after, Biglaw, including by tracking layoffs, bonuses, and laterals. Above the Law is pleased to bring you this weekly column, which analyzes news at the world’s top law firms.
Despite this being the busy season for the hiring and (in the few firms that cling to the traditional calendar) onboarding processes, things have been relatively quiet lately. Actually, we almost forgot about deferred associates – some of the members of the "lost" Class of 2009 are finally starting to trickle back to BigLaw.
Well, that was fast. Last week we learned of preliminary merger discussions taking place between Akin Gump and Orrick. But this morning, spokespersons for each firm released the following joint statement (which differed only in which firm’s name came first):
[The firms] have mutually agreed to conclude preliminary discussions regarding the possibility of a merger. The firms appreciated the opportunity to have the discussions, which confirmed their mutual respect for one another. However, the firms have determined not to proceed.
For an assessment of the pros and cons of an Akin / Orrick union, see here.
* Why your job is making you depressed. Maybe because it sucks? [CNN]
* Women of Biglaw: think you have it bad? Your sisters on Wall Street may be even worse off. [The Careerist]
* Speaking of women in the legal profession, nominations are now being accepted for InsideCounsel’s Transformative Leadership Awards, which “honor women general counsel and law firm partners who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the empowerment of women in corporate law.” [SuperConference]
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.