Risk Update

Partner Exodus — Inside Story of Boies Schiller Lawyer Lateral Departures

The inside story behind a 15-partner exodus at elite law firm Boies Schiller” —

  • “Fifteen partners are leaving law firm Boies Schiller Flexner to join King & Spalding, marking a culmination of exits that insiders say can be traced, at least in part, to internal friction following a merger with a California firm.”
  • “The moves sent tremors throughout the national legal community because Boies Schiller is no ordinary firm, led by the famous trial attorney David Boies, who earned star status by grilling Bill Gates in the Justice Department’s antitrust case against Microsoft and then representing Al Gore in the 2000 Florida recount.”
  • “Over the past three years, though, Boies has come under scrutiny after media reports of his role as Harvey Weinstein’s fixer, as well as his hardball tactics in representing Theranos, the failed medical technology startup, as chronicled in “Bad Blood,” the book by John Carreyrou.”
  • “Numerous partners in the recent batch of departures had joined Boies Schiller in 2017 as part of a merger with the California litigation boutique Caldwell Leslie, known for representing Hollywood studios, artists and other corporations. By at least five accounts, the merger did not go smoothly.”
  • “Hollywood studios, for instance, found Boies Schiller’s higher billing rates tough to swallow, according to three people familiar with the matter. And press coverage of David Boies’ representation of Harvey Weinstein didn’t do the Boies Schiller name any favors in those circles, these people said.”
  • “He [Nick Gravante, co-managing partner of Boies Schiller] said Caldwell Leslie did not integrate well with Boies Schiller overall, noting that some partners wanted to bring in ‘small matters’ that he said ‘would potentially present major conflicts for us down the road.'”
  • “During a months-long recruiting effort by King & Spalding, Willingham met… talks accelerated over Zoom and virtual conference meetings, as the coronavirus prevented in-person talks, marking the end of a process that included some 50 King & Spalding partners, according to interviews with Los Angeles managing partner Peter Strotz, and another partner and longtime friend of Willingham, Joe Akrotirianakis… The incoming Boies Schiller group, altogether, is expected to bring over to King & Spalding some tens of millions in revenue, according to Los Angeles partner Peter Strotz.”