Law Firms

Carlton Fields loses 2 name partners in group move to Drinker Biddle; was merger a failure?

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Carlton Fields Jorden Burt is shrinking—in more ways than one.

On Feb. 28, the law firm dropped the words Jorden Burt from its name, the American Lawyer reports in stories here and here. About a week later, the firm lost 17 lawyers—including former name partners James Jorden and Frank Burt—in a move to Drinker Biddle & Reath.

Fourteen of the lawyers moving to Drinker Biddle are partners and three are associates, according to a press release. The team is known for trial and class action work, and some of the lawyers will establish an office in Hartford, Connecticut, for Drinker Biddle. The firm also expects to open a Miami office in the near future with lawyers from Jorden’s group.

Jorden and Burt’s 70-lawyer firm Jorden Burt had merged with Carlton Fields in 2014. “Five years after the merger,” the American Lawyer reports, “the benefits of the union seem a lot less clear.”

Carlton Fields currently has 277 lawyers, a head count that is only five lawyers higher than before the merger. Thirty of 48 Jorden Burt partners who joined Carlton Fields in the merger are no longer there, according to ALM Intelligence data cited by the American Lawyer.

Carlton Fields wished success to the departing partners in a statement cited by the American Lawyer. Carlton Fields said it still has “a very deep bench in class action and insurance litigation,” and it did not lose any financial services, regulatory or transactional attorneys.

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