Patrick Bradford

When people leave the Chicago office of Sidley Austin, they do it in style. Remember the humorous departure memo of partner David B. Johnson, who left the firm to pursue a career as a novelist? Or the epic farewell message of associate Tyler Coulson, who left to hike across the country with his dog?

(And write a book about the experience, with a great title: By Men or By the Earth: A Corporate Lawyer Walks Out on Law, Love, and Life, and Walks Across America With His Adopted Dog (affiliate link).)

Today we have news of another lawyer leaving the Chicago office of Sidley. But this departure reads more like a mystery novel than a memoir. Let’s find out who’s leaving, even if we don’t yet know why….

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Ted Freedman

Last October, we wrote about the mysterious departure from Kirkland & Ellis of Theodore Freedman. Freedman was a prominent bankruptcy and restructuring partner at the firm, based out of the New York office.

As we mentioned in the story, our coverage of Freedman’s departure was prompted by “interesting rumors.” We hoped that our post would result in additional corroboration of what we were hearing. Alas, our write-up just prompted the usual attacks from Kirkland Kool-Aid drinkers, who accused us in the comments of harboring ill-will toward K&E and engaging in shoddy journalism.

Well, this time we’ll enjoy the last laugh (not because we have anything against K&E — we don’t — but because we like being proven correct). We can share what we know about Ted Freedman, because the rumors are now embodied in a federal criminal indictment….

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Theodore Freedman is — or was — a prominent bankruptcy and restructuring partner at Kirkland & Ellis, based out of the firm’s New York office. Freedman has been practicing law for almost 40 years; he graduated from Northwestern Law in 1972 and is admitted to the bars of D.C. (1973), Illinois (1976), and New York (1992).

Word on the street, however, is that Ted Freedman has left, or is in the process of leaving, K&E. He’s no longer on the Kirkland website. Check out the list of K&E lawyers whose last names start with F; he’s not there.

Then try running a Google search for theodore freedman kirkland ellis — even the Google cache version is gone. Nice work, Kirkland IT people.

So what happened to Ted Freedman?

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Plus a request for updates on ex-DPW and S&C partners.

DavisPolk Davis Polk Wardwell new logo DPW.jpgEarlier this week, a reader drew our attention to an interesting development. The biography of Patrick Bradford, a prominent New York litigator and the first African-American partner at the white-shoe firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, has been removed from DPW’s (hottie-laden) website.

“No idea why,” said our source, “but Davis seems like a place where disappearings are rare.”

Indeed. It’s one of a handful of super-elite firms, like Cravath and Wachtell and Sullivan & Cromwell, where partners rarely leave. When they do, there’s often a story behind the departure. See, e.g., Carlos Spinelli-Noseda and John O’Brien, formerly of Sullivan & Cromwell.

We followed up by calling the firm yesterday. The first time we called the main number, the receptionist hung up on us after we asked for Pat Bradford. This was very un-Davis of her, since DPW is known for its passive-aggressive uber-polite, genteel, “kinder and gentler” atmosphere.

We called back, and this time we were connected to a secretary who put us into Bradford’s voice-mail. We left him a voice-mail and followed up with an email. Today Bradford confirmed his departure from DPW, in a short statement to ATL:

I have withdrawn from my firm to pursue a position in government service.

A smidgen of speculation, after the jump.

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