2 Howrey Partners Say They Waited As Long As They Could Before Heading for the Exits

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Updated: Roger Klein had spent 35 years at Howrey. But about a month ago he decided to take his future into his own hands and began looking for a new job, he tells the Washingtonian’s Capital Comment Blog, when “it became clear to me that Howrey was not going to be able to continue to operate as a separate, stand-alone entity.”

Klein is a corporate lawyer with a book of business who served as the firm’s general counsel, the managing partner of Howrey’s headquarters office in Washington, D.C., and chair of the corporate and transactional practice group. He says he received three good offers and decided to move to Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, the Washington Business Journal recounts.

Now he is waiting to see whether he will get any of his capital contribution to Howrey back. Under the partnership contract, the firm has six months to repay and, as is clear from the steady stream of departing partners, it is anyone’s guess as to what may be happening at Howrey by then.

This week alone, more than 15 partner departures have hit the news. The latest is an Am Law Daily report that Dewey & LeBoeuf has brought in antitrust litigator Roxann Henry to help grow its practice in Washington, D.C.

Earlier developments, as detailed in prior posts, began with news that the exit of two lawyers had left the firm’s London office with only one partner. Next, Klein’s exit was announced, along with the departure of approximately a half dozen other partners. And then came word that a 15-lawyer group was joining Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, as well as news that three other partners were moving to new jobs, too.

Earlier, vice chairman Sean F.X. Boland apparently struck a nerve when the told the Washington Post that “some people, including some fairly high-level people, sort of bailed on us when they didn’t get exactly what they wanted. You have to ask your partners to be patient until it pays off, and not everyone is patient enough.”

Antitrust partner C. Scott Hataway, who is exiting for Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker, told the Washingtonian that he had waited long enough, another Capital Comment blog post reports.

“Certainly, I recognized the firm’s troubles several months ago and could have left at that time,” says Hataway. “But I decided to wait to let the process play out and do the best I could to take care of my partners at Howrey.”

Additional coverage: “Howrey VC Recounts Problems: Quick Growth, Lower Profits and Partners Who ‘Bailed on Us’” “‘Delicate Dance’ for Winston: How to Hire Many Howrey Partners, Without Being Sued?”

Am Law Daily: “Who Will Milk Fees from Howrey’s Mammoth Antitrust Case?”

Last updated on March 4, with information about Roxann Henry move.

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