Law Firms

BigLaw firm is accused of dragging its feet in return of capital contribution


A former partner at Chadbourne & Parke who left the firm on Sept. 27 to jump to Andrews Kurth is seeking the return of her capital contribution in a lawsuit filed about a month later.

The suit was filed in London Mercantile Court by Melanie Willems, an international arbitration lawyer who worked at Chadbourne’s London office, the Am Law Daily (reg. req.) reports. Willems says the firm’s partnership agreement requires the return of capital “as soon as reasonably practicable”—and that should mean the day she left the firm or “shortly thereafter.”

Willems, a former Howrey lawyer, says she borrowed $127,000 from Citibank in May 2010 to fund the capital contribution. She says the loan has gone into default.

Two former Chadbourne partners told the Am Law Daily that the firm typically returns capital contributions the spring after a lawyer’s departure.

Willems is co-author of two steamy romance novels featuring the exploits of a lawyer named Ben, according to the story. The Am Law Daily quotes from the Amazon description of her latest book: “Will Ben retain the confidence of his bondage-loving boss, survive the humiliation of his mother dating a toy boy, navigate the shoals of relationship challenges, and keep his career alive in the face of hard partying?”

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