Coudert’s London saviours fly into sunset

Coudert Brothers’ emergency team to save London left the capital just a day after flying in from New York and Brussels, leaving the office’s 30 associates high and dry.

Coudert executive board member Edward Tillinghast and European managing partner Eric Deltour flew into London following the mass resignation of its eight partners, who are departing for Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Despite vowing to save the office and stating publicly that the associates were wanted, no Coudert partners have been seen in London except those leaving for Orrick.

“Everyone’s just waiting. We don’t really know what’s happening until things are cleared up amicably at the top level,” said a Coudert associate in London.

The likelihood of an amicable settlement seemed unlikely at the start of last week, when Coudert’s lawyers at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett launched an investigation of the deal and threatened to injunct the partners’ move, as first revealed by www.thelawyer. com (24 May).

However, Ralph Baxter, chairman and chief executive officer at Orrick, said: “Coudert was aware that we were talking to some of their partners about joining us individually. They knew that when they approached Orrick to talk about the possibility of a merger or combination, and we informed them that we were continuing to talk to individual partners.”

One of the departing partners told The Lawyer: “We’ve retained counsel for some time and we haven’t been in breach of any of our fiduciary duties or been engaged in tortious conduct.”

Coudert declined to comment.