Altheimer’s international chairman quits after internal shake-up

Altheimer & Gray has been hit by the shock resignation of the chairman of its international practice.
Louis Goldman, the partner primarily responsible for the firm’s expansion in Europe, has resigned as the Chicago firm continues its internal restructure.
It is understood that it had already been decided that responsibility for the firm’s international expansion would become part of managing partner Jeffrey Smith’s remit, although it is not clear whether this was the main reason behind Goldman’s decision.
The firm has been undergoing an overall review of its operations, which has seen it cut between 30 and 40 lawyers as well as lower the number of jobs offered to graduates.
Despite this, the firm saw fit to open an office in San Francisco last year and merge with Paris boutique Cournot.
According to reports, the firm is expecting profits per partner to drop to around $500,000 (£305,600) for the last financial year, from $580,000 (£354,500)in 2001.
Sources also say that Altheimer is actively seeking a merger partner to expand its US practice, which spans three offices compared with its eight offices in Europe, and one affiliate and one branch in Shanghai.
In London, the firm has undergone its own changes. Following a review which began in December, the firm has a new management team which consists of partners Anthony Fine, Susan Breen, Nick Davis, Patricia Martin and Jessica Learmond-Criqui. Robert Bata, who opened and headed up the London office, is now responsible for the European network, although he also retains his position on the management committee.
The London office has also been hit by at least eight partner or associate departures over the last 18 months, although the firm insists that a percentage of the lawyers that left were managed out.
Altheimer’s London office is also attempting to get rid of an excess of office space, which includes 11,000 sq ft at 60 Bishopsgate. According to the firm, it recently received an expression of interest from an unnamed party.
The London office currently has 37 lawyers. However, in 1999, just after Altheimer opened in London, it told The Lawyer that it wanted to expand the office to 100 lawyers in two or three years. It also said that it wanted to expand into Paris, Milan and Frankfurt, but so far, the firm has only made moves into Paris.