James M. Rishwain

There’s once a dream that was OrrickPillsbury.

It was exactly a month ago that we first heard that Orrick was looking to join up with (read: bail out) Pillsbury. Today, the thrill is gone. Orrick and Pillsbury announced they were calling off the mega-merger saving us, our planned Very Special Episode of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch.

So what happened?

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Last week, we discussed the effort by Dewey & LeBoeuf to hold on to departing partners by enforcing its 60-day notice requirement. Partners that leave without complying with the requirement can miss out on profit distributions.

Alas, the response of many partners seems to be, “So what?” Yesterday brought word of about eight partners leaving Dewey. And since our story this morning about Dewey’s tax-time troubles, even more defections have been announced.

So who are the latest lawyers to leave, and where are they going?

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The last we heard from Fulbright & Jaworski and Pillsbury Winthrop, the former was busy conducting staff layoffs, and the latter was exploring on-shore outsourcing options. Today, we have bigger and more exciting news: the two Biglaw firms may be headed to the altar.

What would a combined firm look like? Fulbright has approximately 900 lawyers, while Pillsbury has a little under 700 lawyers. If the rumors are true, then we could be looking at a gigantic, global mega-firm — a veritable army of lawyers marching at roughly 1,600 strong.

But what stage are the firms’ merger discussions in? Is this a sure thing?

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