Salans rescues Altheimers’ Eastern European practices

The lion’s share of Altheimer & Gray’s (A&G) European operation has found a new home with Salans, which plans to take on five of the collapsed Chicago firm’s offices.
But, in a bittersweet twist, A&G’s four European-based equity partners risk losing between $500,000 (£309,500) and $750,000 (£464,300) in capital contributions in the floundering firm, which is in the process of meeting creditor demands as it lumbers towards its dissolution deadline of 1 November.
The week-long voting has already begun at Salans, where partners are expected to give the go-ahead to integrate the Prague, Bucharest, Bratislava, Istanbul and Shanghai offices – first made public on www.thelawyer.com on 17 September. Also up for grabs is A&G’s associated office in Budapest, which is also expected to join Salans’ European network.
A&G’s 28-lawyer Warsaw office, where Salans already has a presence, is believed to be the subject of attention from Coudert Brothers, Squire Sanders & Dempsey and Chadbourne & Parke. The latter firm has already grabbed A&G’s Kiev office.
It is not clear what plans A&G’s Paris office has made regarding its future. In September last year, Cournot joined the A&G network, yet never fully merged with the US firm, prompting the possibility that the firm could revert to being an independent practice.
Salans’ acquisition will see 13 former A&G partners and more than 50 associates join the firm.
It is understood that seven of the 13 A&G partners will be admitted into equity at Salans, which operates a modified lockstep remuneration system.
The equity partners will include A&G’s former European head Robert Bata and former head of the international group Louis Goldman, who resigned from the firm in May.
According to sources, A&G’s four former equity partners are not expecting to see the return of their capital contributions in the withering Chicago firm, although they will probably secure new funding from Salans’ bank.