BigLaw firm's suit seeks recruiter refund for lateral partner who soon left
Foley & Lardner alleges that legal recruiter Mark Bruce International Inc. failed to refund a recruiting fee as required by a contract provision governing lateral hires who don’t work out. Image from Shutterstock.
Foley & Lardner alleges that legal recruiter Mark Bruce International Inc. failed to refund a recruiting fee as required by a contract provision governing lateral hires who don’t work out.
In an Oct. 2 lawsuit, Foley & Lardner said the partner began work at the law firm April 11. On June 30, Foley & Lardner informed the president of Mark Bruce International that it was entitled to a full refund of the placement fee because the partner was no longer with the firm.
The contract provided for sliding-scale refunds when recruited partners leave, as a result of their own decision or that of the firm. When partners leave within three months, the entire placement fee is to be refunded, according to the suit.
In the June 30 phone conversation, Foley & Lardner’s recruiting director told Robert Lehrman, president of Mark Bruce International, that the partner had left, and the firm was entitled to its refund within 10 days, as called for in the contract, according to the suit. The recruiting director followed up in emails that same day to Lehrman and CEO Mark Rosen.
“No refund was forthcoming,” despite several follow-up emails, the suit says.
The suit does not name the partner or provide a reason for the person’s exit from the firm. Nor does it say how much Foley & Lardner paid for the placement fee.
Mark Bruce International has been embroiled in previous legal disputes. The recruiter sued Dechert in 2018 seeking payment of a 25% fee for placement of a lawyer. A judge ruled for Dechert, saying no money was due because the lawyer was hired as of counsel, rather than as a partner, according to Reuters.
An appeals court ruled for Blank Rome in 2009 in a fee dispute related to the firm’s combination with a maritime firm. The judge ruled an exchange of emails did not create an enforceable contract, Reuters reports.
Lehrman and Rosen did not respond to Law.com’s request for comment.