Law Firms

Crowell Loses Two Practice Group Chiefs in Wake of Alleged Embezzlement by Ex-Counsel

Crowell & Moring is facing more upheaval following embezzlement allegations against a former lawyer.

The law firm is losing “a slew of lawyers,” including two practice group leaders, the Am Law Daily reports. Former financial services chair William O’Connor is taking a group to Thompson & Knight, while international arbitration chair Arif Hyder Ali is moving with three other partners in his group to Weil, Gostshal & Manges, the story says.

O’Connor joined Crowell with a group of eight lawyers in 2007 that included Douglas Arntsen, the lawyer who is now facing embezzlement charges. Arntsen is accused of stealing more than $7 million in client funds and is reportedly under investigation in the theft of $21 million from a different client. He was extradited from Hong Kong and arraigned last month.

O’Connor told the Am Law Daily he will know more about other lawyers making the move by Wednesday. He said the Arntsen matter “didn’t enter into the discussion” regarding his leaving the firm.

A Crowell spokesperson confirmed the departure of the arbitration partners and said the practice group still has 35 lawyers. Meanwhile, the firm has itself been making lateral hires, picking up five lawyers in January.

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