Tactical warfare is threatening to break out between Clifford Chance and the lawyers representing the former members of Brobeck Phleger & Harrison who are suing the UK firm.
The original complaint made by former staff and partners of the defunct firm, which sought $100m (£57.3m) in damages, was filed against former chairman Tower Snow and Clifford Chance on 8 October.
It is understood that the defendants have 30 days to submit a response. The deadline, though, has slipped into ambiguity after Clifford Chance transferred the case from a state to a federal court. The Lanier Law Firm, acting for the Brobeck party, will attempt to transfer the claim back to a state court in a hearing set for 5 January.
Clifford Chance is likely to seek an extension to the deadline, potentially giving it until February to answer claims that it and Snow contributed to the downfall of Brobeck.