The Firms

March 4, 2011 6:46 PM

Howrey To Vote on Dissolution This Week

Posted by Nate Raymond

Updated, 3/7/2011, 9 a.m. EST

Amid a stream of departures, partners at Howrey are set to vote this week on whether to dissolve the law firm, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

If partners vote to wind-up the firm, as two current partners and one former partner say they are set to do, it would mean the end of the 55-year-old Washington, D.C.-based law firm. The vote is likely to take place on Wednesday, according to two of the sources. A Howrey spokeswoman declined to confirm whether a vote was scheduled. (Legal Week reported on Friday that the firm will hold a vote on dissolution next week.)

The dissolution vote comes in the midst of discussions with Winston & Strawn, which reportedly has extended offers to a number of Howrey partners after earlier considering a merger. Amid those discussions, though, partners have been leaving Howrey for rivals, including Jones Day, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Shearman & Sterling, and several others.

News of the planned vote follows a Howrey partners meeting held on Thursday. The Howrey spokeswoman confirms the Thursday meeting occurred, describing it as a meeting to "update" partners. A current Howrey partner says the meeting "generally outlined" the current state of affairs.

The departures have left Howrey a shadow of its former self. In April 2010 the firm listed 297 partners and of counsel on a document prepared for the firm's annual partnership meeting; the document was provided to The Am Law Daily by a former partner. In less than a year, 134 of the lawyers listed have left the firm, an analysis by The Am Law Daily has found. The firm's Web site currently lists 150 partners, though in recent days the firm is not updating the Web site with each partner move.

Departures continued throughout last week. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman picked up six partners and nine other lawyers on Tuesday, including John Heisse, cochair of Howrey's construction practice.

Also on Tuesday, Howrey's general counsel and chair of its corporate practice, Roger Klein, left for Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. That same day, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker hired antitrust partner C. Scott Hataway in Washington, D.C., Kirkland & Ellis nabbed Shaun Goodman in London, Morrison & Foerster grabbed London antitrust head Thomas McQuail, and Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg brought on Howrey insurance recovery cochair Jill Berkeley and partner Seth Lamden in Chicago. 

Dewey meanwhile confirmed Thursday it had brought on Roxann Henry, an antitrust partner in Washington, D.C. Perkins Coie that same day announced it added Viola Kung to its Palo Alto patent procurement practice.

Contact Nate Raymond at [email protected]

Additional reporting by Brian Baxter, Dimitra Kessenides, and Julie Triedman


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