US firm bows out in wake of increased costs

US FIRM Lord Day & Lord, Barrett Smith decided to dissolve this week in the face of mounting costs. The news will affect many Lloyd's Names who comprise much of the firm's client base.

Some 55 Lord Day fee earners – including the entire corporate team and half its litigators – will join Morgan Lewis Bockius' New York office when Lord Day folds on 30 September. This leaves 60 staff rethinking their careers.

Morgan Lewis London managing partner Charles Lubar says: “This is a tremendous boost for the London office. Lord Day had built up an extremely strong Anglo-American link over the past 25 years and was involved with major Lloyd's insurance work. It also has other key UK institutional clients.

“We will now be able to provide a much more comprehensive service to Lloyd's clients.” The incoming Lord Day lawyers specialise in secured lending, M&A, insurance, litigation and tax.

He adds: “Lord Day was involved in some bad mergers – they took on Barrett Smith – and they took a lot of office space at the top of the market at very high cost – so they carried a big real estate exposure.”

Morgan Lewis is also to pick up 50 fee-earners from Newman Bouknight Edgar, which is restructuring itself to reflect changes in the electrical and the nuclear power industries.

The new intake will join Morgan Lewis's office in Washington DC, and establish it as one of the largest in the US energy sector.

The only Lord Day associate in London is Steven Navarro, who will join Morgan Lewis's London office under Charles Lubar. He says: “It is very sad. The firm is one of the oldest in the US, trading under the Lord Day name since the 1840s.

“But I think the Morgan Lewis move is very good – for those of us who are going. And it is a good move for our clients.”

Explaining the end of Lord Day, he says: “Costs were getting out of control. It

doesn't reflect a fall in corporate and litigation work in general.”

Morgan Lewis has doubled its London fee-earners so far this year and now has 14. Next week it will have 15 with the addition of Navarro.