Law Firms

Winston MP Cites Client Conflicts in Failed Attempt to Hire 140 Howrey Partners

Winston & Strawn managing partner Tom Fitzgerald says conflicts of interest stymied his firm’s ambitious plans to hire 140 partners from the crumbling Howrey law firm.

Only 15 Howrey partners ended up joining Winston & Strawn, the Chicago Tribune reports. They were among a group of about 40 Howrey lawyers that moved to Winston, many of them in Winston’s new Houston office.

Winston & Strawn did not make job offers when the conflicts were obvious, as in the case of Howrey partners working on an antitrust case filed by dairy farmers in which Winston was on the other side, the story says. More conflicts were discovered after Winston made job offers and began scrutizining Howrey’s clients, Fitzgerald told the Tribune.

After conflicts were revealed for some rainmakers, groups of partners who had committed to Winston started splintering, according to the Tribune account. Headhunter calls to Howrey lawyers created increased competition for Winston.

“It’s a disappointment for us because of the respect we had for Howrey,” Fitzgerald told the newspaper. “Conflicts can be difficult to deal with in our profession.”

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