The Firms

May 4, 2010 12:01 PM

More Departures from Ruden; Firm Continues to Insist All Is Well

Posted by Zach Lowe

Three more partners have left Ruden McClosky, including one corporate partner who says the problems that have emerged at the firm over the last few months pushed him out the door, according to stories in sibling publication the Daily Business Review. 

Robert Brighton, a 12-year Ruden veteran, has left to join Shutts & Bowen, which expanded its Fort Lauderdale office Monday with the additions of Brighton and two lawyers from Akerman Senterfitt, according to this story in the DBR.

Brighton was candid about why he left Ruden, which has seen head count drop from 175 to about 100 over the last year, in talking with the paper. The firm has restructured many of its offices and suffered through a very public internal dispute over management strategies. The problems spurred rumors that Ruden might collapse, but the firm has continued to insist it will survive and that it wants to attract major laterals in the next year. "The perception of the firm has added greater urgency to my leaving," Brighton told the DBR. "It was fish or cut bait. It didn't look like things were getting better any time soon. I'm in my prime period."

Brighton added that Ruden "was never the fit I had hoped for when I came here 12 years ago," in part because the firm did not take his advice and expand its transactional practice. The firm remained heavily reliant on real estate instead, the DBR reports.

Brighton's departure comes a week after two partners departed Ruden's Orlando office, leaving that office with just one partner, according to this story in the DBR (subscription only). Carl Schuster, Ruden's managing partner, characterized the loss of the two Orlando partners as "a minor development," the DBR reports. Schuster told the paper that the Orlando office "remains fully intact with a continuing effort to grow the office as well as the firm's presence in the region."

Scott Callahan, one of the two partners who left Ruden's Orlando office, denied leaving the firm because of disagreements with management over its request that partners sign personal guarantees to back Ruden's line of credit, the DBR reports. "That's a stupid issue," Callahan told the paper. "It's a red herring. There is no animosity between us."

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