Update (March 2, 2012): Jim Hammerand of the Mpls/St. P. Business Journal notes recent departures of some prominent lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels. (And Steve Allison, head of Dorsey & Whitney’s litigation group in its Orange County, California office, has recently moved to competitor Crowell & Moring.)
Original post (February 7, 2012): As the previous calendar year recedes in our rear view mirrors, law firms close the books for the past year, they distribute the bonuses, and they divvy up the partner profits…prime time for a flurry of activity in the legal labor market.
There are aspects of the “lawbor market,” in particular, that make it particularly susceptible to turmoil: (1) lawyers cannot be subject to non-competes; (2) the attorney-client relationship often seems to be personal not institutional; (3) cash flow for legal services can be highly uneven year-over-year. So, for example, a partner may have multiple seven-figure revenue years, followed by multiple years of dry spell. How is this partner’s distribution fairly set? Not to speak of the fact that there is no hard science, of course, to the determination of which lawyers’ performances truly contributed to firm wealth.
Normally, these events are the subject of intense but quiet activity by the ex-firm and the new firm but sometimes they boil into public view. Today, the law firm of Mansfield, Tanick & Cohen, P.A. sent out notice to “clients and friends” of the abrupt departure of attorney Greg Perleberg to the Lommen Abdo firm. (Hat-tip to a special ML reader for the tip!) In the days and weeks to come, some clients will obviously have to pick sides.