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May 20, 2009 1:59 PM

Kilpatrick's London Office a Thing of the Past

Posted by Richard Lloyd

In a highly unusual move for an Am Law 100 firm, Kilpatrick Stockton has closed its London office. The Atlanta firm has just confirmed the office closing, which occurred in late March, to The Am Law Daily.

The decision to do so came after a steady stream of partner departures from the London office over the past five years. Corporate specialist and former office head Ken Boehner left the firm and, as was announced in recent days, has joined London firm Bristows. Boehner was the last of the moves away from Kilpatrick, which also included arbitration specialists Stephen York and Shai Wade, who moved to Reed Smith in February 2008, and IP specialist Helen Newman, who joined U.K. practice Olswang in June 2007.

In a statement to The Am Law Daily Kilpatrick co-managing partner Bill Dorris confirms that the firm ceased practicing in London as of March 30, 2009. "We have determined that affiliations with full-service firms in the United Kingdom would better serve the interests of Kilpatrick Stockton and those of our clients," the statement said. Dorris stressed that the firm is committed to serving its clients' international needs through links to U.K. practices and its offices in Stockholm and Dubai, and added, "While the firm is doing well in this current and volatile business environment, this decision is structured to further improve the long-term success of the firm."

According to the 2009 Am Law 100 ranking, in the May issue of The American Lawyer magazine and online here, Kilpatrick Stockton reported 4 percent growth in fee income to $276 million and a 7.6 percent increase in profits per partner to $705,000.

The London office slowly unravelled after 2003 when Kilpatrick acquired the London office of Altheimer & Gray following Altheimer's collapse. That deal added 12 partners and took Kilpatrick to around 50 lawyers in the U.K. capital.

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