Just another day at big law, or is it? Lawyers move on, find new legal homes but some homes collapse, others build a second story. We’ll stop with house analogy here. Nonetheless, maybe there is nothing to see here, right? As Reed Smith’s Managing Partner states “The movement of talent among firms is routine, and every firm experiences it.”
Here’s a roundup of some recent moves. I’m sure there are many, many more.
DLA Piper & Baker McKenzie
DLA Piper recently welcomed to its Antwerp location a team of six from Baker McKenzie. The move comes as a result of DLA Piper’s desire to deepen its capabilities in the areas of finance, insurance, FinTech, and InsurTech. The firm also recognizes the benefit of such an addition following Brexit.1
Guided by former Baker McKenzie partner Pierre Berger, the group includes Isabelle Van Biesen, Pauline Kustermans, Stephanie Liebaert, Simon Landuyt, and Caroline Fabri. The addition of these lawyers brings DLA Piper’s Antwerp team to a total of fourteen.1
On the firm’s website, DLA Piper states that “a key aspect of this will be to build DLA Piper’s FinTech and InsurTech practice on the Continent, combining Pierre’s top tier regulatory practice with DLA Piper’s market leading international IT and data protection capabilities.”2
DLA Piper & McDermott Will & Emory
This transition has been followed by similar moves amongst other law firms. In March 2018, seven partners from DLA Piper decided to leave the firm for McDermott Will & Emery. Those leaving included Mike Poulos, who had been with DLA Piper for over twenty years. An article on the transition stated that “one McDermott source told Big Law Business that the firm is in talks with additional DLA Piper partners spanning California, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and New York offices….”3
Holland & Knight & Reed Smith
Similarly, on July 10, 2018, law firm Holland & Knight introduced to its new Philadelphia office twelve lawyers (including eleven partners) from Reed Smith. In response to their move, Reed Smith’s Global Managing Partner Sandy Thomas affirmed the stability of the firm and acknowledged the frequency of such transitions within the legal field.4
Kirkland & Ellis & Dallas
The next day, Kirkland & Ellis LLP declared the establishment of its newest office in Dallas, Texas. Six preeminent lawyers will soon leave their firms to begin work in Kirkland’s new office. Houston partner Andrew Calder stated that “each of the partners and associates that has joined the new office has been carefully selected to fit the Kirkland Texas approach as an entrepreneurial, best-in-class team that will seek to be commercial in finding solutions to client issues.”5 The press release follows suspicions that Kirkland was rounding up top lawyers for a new location.6
It was Nice Knowing you Sedgwick
Such mergers aren’t always indicative of future success. In November 2017, Sedgwick announced its termination after months of tumultuous departures by partners. While firm Clyde & Co. had considered merging with Sedgwick, the absence of so many key lawyers and the compensation owed them proved too unattractive.7 In the end, it seemed that Sedgwick was unable to sustain itself amidst lower profit margins and the costs of opening new offices.8
Only time will reveal the implications of these transitions. In the meantime, the future appears hopeful for DLA Piper and its capabilities in the areas of finance and insurance.
- Roberts, Hannah. “DLA Piper Nabs 6 Baker McKenzie Financial Service Lawyers for Its Antwerp Office.”Corporate Counsel, 2 July 2018, www.law.com/2018/07/02/dla-piper-adds-six-strong-bakers-financial-services-team-to-antwerp-office-396-4513/.
- “DLA Piper Hires Financial Services and Insurance Sector Team in Belgium | News | DLA Piper Global Law Firm.” DLA Piper, 2 July 2018, www.dlapiper.com/en/belgium/news/2018/06/dla-piper-hires-financial-services-and-insurance-sector-team/.
- Sullivan, Casey, and Stephanie Russell-Kraft. “McDermott Circles DLA Piper, Lands Seven Partners: Sources.” Big Law Business, 8 Mar. 2018, biglawbusiness.com/mcdermott-circles-dla-piper-lands-seven-partners-sources/.
- Blumenthal, Jeff. “Miami Law Firm Enters Philadelphia by Hiring 12 Reed Smith Attorneys.” Bizjournals.com, The Business Journals, 10 July 2018, www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2018/07/10/law-firm-enters-philly-hires-12-from-reed-smith.html.
- “Kirkland & Ellis Opens Dallas Office.” Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, 11 July 2018, www.kirkland.com/sitecontent.cfm?contentID=230&itemId=13602.
- Rozen, Miriam. “Kirkland Tries Stealth Strategy for Dallas Base.” The American Lawyer, ALM Media Properties, LLC, 28 June 2018, www.law.com/americanlawyer/2018/06/28/kirkland-tries-stealth-strategy-for-new-big-d-base/.
- Rubino, Kathryn. “What Is Going To Happen To Sedgwick? UPDATE: The Firm Is Closing!” Above the Law, Above the Law, 21 Nov. 2017, abovethelaw.com/2017/11/what-is-going-to-happen-to-sedgwick/.
- Goodnow, James. “Sedgwick: Death By Billable Hours.”Above the Law, Above the Law, 15 Dec. 2017, abovethelaw.com/2017/12/sedgwick-death-by-billable-hours/?rf=1.