Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner held a crisis meeting today (28 October) to discuss the dissolution of the firm.
The US firm’s 13-member partnership counsel called the meeting to discuss dissolution with the full partnership.
A Thelen spokesman confirmed: “The meeting has been called by the firm partnership counsel to recommend a vote for dissolution. The vote will not take place today and partners will have seven days to return their ballots.”
The meeting, taking place via conference call in all Thelen’s offices, comes after reports that firm chairman Stephen O’Neal is in talks with DC firm Howrey with a view to defecting to the firm along with 30 Thelen lawyers.
Since the beginning of 2008, Thelen has lost more than 100 lawyers. Last month (29 September), The Lawyer reported that Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman had snared Thelen’s entire China practice group from its Shanghai, Washington DC and San Francisco offices. The Lawyer also reported that Thelen was holding merger talks with US rival Nixon Peabody.
A source close to the firm said: “When talks fell through with Nixon Peabody it really signified a shift in the firm and its future. There have been a lot of defections and it has really snowballed this year.”
If, as expected Thelen does dissolve it will be the second major US law firm to collapse in less than a month, after Heller Ehrman announced its dissolution in September.