Law Firms

Billable Hour Concerns Helped Kill Nixon Peabody Merger, Motion Says

A dozen lawyers from Taylor Wessing’s French office have given notice that they intend to move to Nixon Peabody, despite their initial concerns about the workload, according to a motion filed in the legal fight between the two law firms that were once considering a merger.

The 12 lawyers who plan to move are among 15 non-equity partners in the French office, according to a motion (PDF posted by the American Lawyer) filed by Taylor Wessing, the American Lawyer reports.

Ironically, the motion says concerns voiced by non-equity partners were one reason for the failure of the merger talks. “It was their view that law firms in the United States had significant hourly billing requirements, something that French firms do not, which made the non-equity partners exceedingly uncomfortable,” the motion says.

The filing says Taylor Wessing’s former managing partner persuaded the lawyers that working for a U.S. law firm would not be so onerous and warned them that Taylor might fail if there was no merger.

Taylor Wessing has filed suit against Nixon Peabody in New York saying the law firm violated an agreement not to raid its office if merger talks failed. Nixon claims any ban on recruiting by the firms ended with the close of merger talks.

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