Law Firms

Ten Partners from Two BigLaw Firms Form New Legal Practice in NC, Plan to Govern by Consensus


Ten BigLaw partners—six from K&L Gates and four from Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice—are leaving to create a new law firm offering lower hourly rates and alternative fees.

The new firm will be called Morningstar and it will be located in Morrisville, N.C., near Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh, report the Am Law Daily and the Raleigh News & Observer. A handful of associates will also be joining the new firm.

Among those making the move is Kenneth Carroll, the former managing partner of Womble Carlyle’s Research Triangle office. He tells both publications that the Morningstar name symbolizes the “dawn of a new day in legal services.”

“I hope that’s not hokey sounding, but that is what we were trying to accomplish,” he told the News & Observer.

Carroll praised his former firm in the Am Law Daily interview, but he did indicate some dissatisfaction with BigLaw in general. “I think at many big firms these days there is a bit of an everyman for himself mentality, where individual financial statistics become all important,” Carroll said. “We wanted to practice in an environment where we invest in our colleagues as well as ourselves, and I think that’s becoming increasingly difficult to do in big law.”

The firm founders hope to govern by consensus, at least for the time being, and have not chosen a managing partner, the News & Observer says.

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