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Suit Accuses Orrick of Delivering ‘Fatal Blow’ to Coudert Brothers

Posted Dec 15, 2010 9:08 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawsuit filed by a bankruptcy administrator blames the demise of Coudert Brothers on a law firm that poached several of its lawyers, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

The suit claims Orrick was "feigning interest" in a Coudert merger so it could obtain information on the profitability of partners and offices it wanted to "cherry pick,” the New York Law Journal reports.

According to the suit, Orrick delivered a “fatal blow” to Coudert when it recruited a dozen Coudert partners in London and Moscow, putting Coudert in default on loans because it no longer had the required minimum number of equity partners.

After Coudert decided to shut its doors, Orrick acquired Coudert's China practice for about $4.9 million. The suit (PDF posted by the New York Law Journal) claims the amount was “less than fair value.”

Orrick released a statement to the New York Law Journal asserting that it had "at all times acted properly in hiring Coudert attorneys who voluntarily chose to leave their former firm and affiliate with Orrick." The statement said Orrick paid fair value for Coudert's China practice after arm's-length and good faith negotiations.

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