AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Earlier this year, a midsize but high-profile law firm essentially split in two after it failed to merge with a prominent West Coast firm as well as a top-shelf Washington partnership, with attorneys leaving in droves to join the New York offices of a Philadelphia-based megafirm and with legal profession insiders listening to and circulating rumors of demise.
So, why are the lawyers at this firm, Washington, DC's Swidler Berlin, so optimistic about both the present and future?
After all, its six-plus-year merger with New York's Shereff, Friedman, Hoffman and Goodman unraveled as 57 of the 64 Shereff attorneys, frustrated that no big-name suitor could be found to give them a "national platform, left, many of them to join Philadelphia's Dechert. What's more, the successful chair of its white-collar defense department walked out the door too, taking his half-dozen-attorney group to a small Washington firm.
All of this would spell death for most similarly sized firms (Swidler now has some 160 attorneys, according to managing partner Barry Direnfeld). Most firms simply can't take so many blows to the head and still survive, much less keep any sort of good reputation intact.
But it seems that Swidler isn't your typical mid-size firm, it's known for being very collegial and, more significantly, extremely focused on a few key practice areas, notably telecom law and regulatory work in Washington and real estate and insolvency practices in New York.
Nor is Direnfeld your typical managing partner. He says that the partnership is doing very well, thank you very much, and that morale has never been …