Ropes & Gray turns to White & Case for latest City hire

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  • As an academic, I'm starting to wonder: why is The Lawyer so incredibly interested in bad news from White & Case all of a sudden? I'm pretty sure the departure of an associate wouldn't normally make the headlines. And consider this sentence: 'Her departure is expected to put more pressure on the firm's longstanding relationship with [Deutsche Bank].' Who, precisely, is expecting that this will be the case? It's probably a reasonable deduction that the relationship with DB won't be enhanced by her departure - I presume she's good at her job or Ropes & Gray wouldn't have hired her as counsel (and I wish her the best of luck in her new role) - but if the firm is continuing to act on important matters for Deutsche and other people are able to fill the gap, then why should the relationship be particularly pressured? It's hardly as though the significant number of senior associates who leave Slaughter and May to pursue partnership elsewhere have undermined Slaughter's client relationships.

    Moreover, why is the emphasis of this report, like other's of late, almost entirely on the damage supposedly done to White & Case? This same story could be spun as "Ropes & Gray continues expansion with hire of new counsel: Tania Bedi expected to bring talent and connections to Ropes' expanding banking team." Probably things aren't fantastic at W&C at the moment, but the reporting of late does seem to be deliberately biased against them, to The Lawyer's discredit.

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  • I think it's fairly obvious why the reporting in the legal press is weighted negatively on White & Case - they're losing good partners and lawyers by the bucketload, they're not isolated or unrelated departures, and there's very much a theme of a once-solid firm on a downward slide with weak management. It's true that in a large, diverse global firm like White & Case, there will always be comings and goings - but what is happening now is more than that and the press are hardly at fault for spinning it that way. To an outsider it looks very much like the run is on and if the firm were to lose another 10-15 solid partners in the next couple of months, they will be in trouble.

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  • I've always thought the Lawyer was rather parochial and unreflexively enjoyed seeing American firms in trouble. When Clifford Chance lost its entire litigation practice in the US, the Lawyer interviewed the US managing partner on how CC will bounce back. When Linklaters US practice has lost partners with business but gained plenty of service partners, the Lawyer trumpets every lateral partner as a big steal. So hating on W&C is hardly surprising.

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  • Rob...true to some extent..The Lawyer has always been a parochial supporter of UK firms - wrongly in my opinion - as if MC firms are these beautifully managed, well-oiled machines and US firms are all ramshackle operations, but the W&C woes have been widely reported in the US legal press as well - with the same negative tone. Even the New York Times did a major hatchet job on them a few months ago. They are having major problems.

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  • Rob seems to be blaming the messenger for carrying the message. Is it possible that W&C uniquely created bad blood among its lawyers and in the City? Few firms have covered themselves with glory, of course. As to an interview, I believe W&C sent out Eric Berg who was quoted extensively by The Lawyer, while HV was hiding under his desk.
    As to the first post, the context is that M&M are putting the pressure on as they apparently have a green light to do the hiring necessary to chase down DB - and the latest hire is just one more step in that direction.
    Perhaps W&C need to start posting their own replies in The Lawyer, if they have not already done so.

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  • To the W&C folks who are posting, get over The Lawyer coverage and take the hits you deserve.

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  • Who can blame Tania for bailing out of W&C? Morale is at at all time low (even by W&C standards) and once the Partners that have recently left start picking off the best associates and clients lose confidence another round of redundancies seems inevitable. Women also do not often get promoted at W&C. Good luck to her.

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