Coudert Brothers has called in one of New York’s fiercest litigators to advise it on the departure of the 12 London and Moscow partners who quit for Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe last week.

The departures followed the collapse in merger talks between the two firms. Coudert is concerned that confidential information may have been misused.

Barry Ostrager, a New York-based partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, has written to Orrick chairman Ralph Baxter saying, “…Coudert was engaged in discussions with Orrick about a potential merger/combination of Coudert with Orrick. As you also well know, those discussions involved, in part, a potential combination of Coudert’s highly successful London office with Orrick’s unprofitable London office.”

As exclusively revealed on on 19 May 2005, last week all of the partners from Coudert’s London and Moscow offices agreed to join Orrick. Coudert immediately vowed to fight back, with executive board member Edward Tillinghast flying in to begin the salvage operation.

Orrick could not be reached for comment.