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January 20, 2011 1:55 PM

Howrey Antitrust Cohead Leaving Firm; Salt Lake City Office to Close

Posted by Brian Baxter

Trevor Soames, the cochair of Howrey's worldwide antitrust practice, has announced plans to leave the firm, U.K. publication Legal Week reports. The Brussels-based partner shared the news of his decision via an e-mail sent to his contacts early Thursday.

"I'm obviously sad to be moving on as I have had an enjoyable and successful time at Howrey, and will be sorry to leave the firm--most especially its superb transatlantic antitrust group with whom I have been privileged to work for the last eight years," Soames said in the e-mail.

While Soames has not yet determined where he will go, Legal Week reports, he is evaluating offers from several rival firms. He joined Howrey in 2002 from the London office of Norton Rose. As previously reported here, Soames's clients have included Microsoft, which he represented before the European Commission in a successful effort to persuade the regulator to drop antitrust actions against the world's largest software company.

Soames also led a Howrey team that provided European competition counsel to United Airlines on the company's $3 billion merger with Continental Airlines last year. (United has been a longtime Howrey client.)

Word of Soames's move comes just two days after Dewey & LeBoeuf announced its hiring of three Howrey partners--vice-chairman Henry Bunsow and fellow IP litigators Denise De Mory and Brian Smith--in San Francisco. The trio's departure followed the loss of four partners from Howrey's Taipei office to Kilpatrick Stockton earlier this week.

The latest spate of lateral losses comes on the heels of former litigation cochair Gary Bendinger joining Sidley Austin with two other partners in December. Bendinger joined the firm in September 2005 when his Salt Lake City litigation boutique merged with Howrey. In a related development, a Howrey spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that the firm will shutter its Salt Lake City office--which currently has seven lawyers, including one partner--on February 15. (Above the Law first reported the news of the office's closure.)

All told, Howrey has seen more than 60 partners depart the firm in the past year. Howrey, which has said the departures are part of a broader restructuring effort, named seven new partners on Wednesday. One of them, European antitrust partner Miguel Rato, works out of Brussels, the office where Soames was based.

The National Law Journal, a sibling publication, reported on Wednesday that the defections were likely to prompt the firm to seek a merger partner. The NLJ quoted Bunsow, who served on Howrey's management committee, as saying that his former firm was "doing all of the right things, but they should have done them earlier."

 

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