Coudert Brothers is desperately trying to recruit partners from around the world to cover London after its entire partnership jumped ship for Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Orrick has taken Coudert’s eight London partners and the three remaining partners from Moscow, which is Coudert’s most profitable European office. Coudert has vowed to rebuild and will fight to retain its 20 London associates, who will now be courted by Orrick.
Coudert executive board member Edward Tillinghast told The Lawyer: “We’ve got it under control. London’s a considerable focus and we’ll rebuild with other partners from other offices who will fill the partner gap.”
The partners resigned last Wednesday evening (18 May) after departing former Coudert chairman and London counsel Steven Beharell quit for LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae, telling the Coudert board that the whole London office was also moving.
The Orrick defectors quickly penned their own resignations, causing panic stations at Coudert. Tillinghast boarded the plane and arrived in London on Thursday morning to begin the salvage operation.
It will not be easy. One of the departing partners said: “Coudert doesn’t make as much money as other firms and that makes it very difficult to grow in London.”
The London partners include managing partner Dean Poster and finance partner Peter O’Driscoll, who works closely with legendary Moscow-based partner John Sheedy, who is also joining Orrick with fellow Muscovites Larisa Afansyeva and Olga Anisimova.
The other London partners joining Orrick are: Simon Cockshutt, John Evans, Maria Frangeskides, Alexander Janes, Anne O’Neill and Fiona Stone. They join competition partner Alastair Gorrie, who also left Coudert for Orrick and who started just last week.