Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has threatened to sue the seven London partners who are leaving for Paul Hastings, after initially promising an amicable separation.
Former chairman Bob Link flew in to London this morning to try to manage the situation. Link is planning to transfer to London to rebuild the office in February.
Cadwalader has instructed UK employment specialist Lewis Silkin, which has written a letter before action to the departing partners alleging that they have broken the terms of the Cadwalader partnership agreement by enticing associates and support staff to leave with them.
In addition to threatening the four departing equity partners and three non-equity partners, Cadwalader is trying to force Paul Hastings to take on more associates and support staff than it needs using TUPE legislation.
Cadwalader released a statement to the media despite the Lewis Silkin letters demanding confidentiality.
The statement read: “Based on the advice of counsel, Cadwalader believes that TUPE therefore applies and will affect the segment of the employee population in our London office which worked with, for or in relation, to the business of those partners.
“This is a legal matter that will be discussed between the two firms impacted by this law. Our goal, and the intent of TUPE, is to protect the rights of those employees.”
It is thought that Cadwalader hopes to avoid making redundancy payments by enforcing TUPE.
The seven departing partners declined the opportunity to comment, as did Paul Hastings.
For more on Cadwalader’s London office, see this week’s feature.