Arnold & Porter shakes it up

Guess which firm is the latest to break cover and start making sabre-rattling noises about its New York growth plans?

If you said “Arnold & Porter”, you deserve an extra-special prize. The DC-based firm isn’t particularly known for its all-out bombast but check out Mike Gerrard, the firm’s New York head, on what’s in store this year: “The firm has adopted a much more aggressive lateral hiring programme than before. One of the firm’s top priorities is the growth of the New York office via laterals.”

OK, that might not be a declaration of war exactly, but coming from A&P it’s tantamount to a battle cry.

Last year A&P’s New York office hired three laterals, a significant investment in what is a relatively small, all-equity partnership.

Now, according to Gerrard, the firm is in “very active talks” with several more.

The first-quarter shake-out is already well under way. Who would’ve thought Arnold & Porter would be up there leading the charge?

Who’s next after Cadwalader cuts?

Cadwalader’s redundancies continue to feature highly in the minds of most lawyers in New York this week.

It was a shock when it came, no doubt about it, but maybe not that much of a shock in hindsight. In fact, when quizzed, most people I spoke to used the same word to describe the sackings: “inevitable”.

One top New York partner put it so well I thought it only fair to share it: “Cads rode the high wave. They were cranking things out 24/7 at the height of the market. And you just can’t reposition that many lawyers quickly.”

The guessing game on who’s next is already in full swing. January always looked like it was going to be the month the credit crunch fallout would start to show for real. This could be just the start.

To read earlier entries in the ‘Byrne in the USA’ blog, click here.