Tactical warfare is threatening to break out between Clifford Chance and the lawyers representing the former members of Brobeck Phleger & Harrison who are suing the UK firm.
The original complaint made by former staff and partners of the defunct firm, which sought $100m (£57.3m) in damages, was filed against former chairman Tower Snow and Clifford Chance on 8 October.
It is understood that the defendants have 30 days to submit a response. The deadline, though, has slipped into ambiguity after Clifford Chance transferred the case from a state to a federal court. The Lanier Law Firm, acting for the Brobeck party, will attempt to transfer the claim back to a state court in a hearing set for 5 January.
Clifford Chance is likely to seek an extension to the deadline, potentially giving it until February to answer claims that it and Snow contributed to the downfall of Brobeck.
Clifford Chance declined to comment.