Law Firms

Thelen Partners to Discuss Dissolution; Firm Chairman May Leave

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Thelen partners are expected to discuss the possibility of dissolving the law firm at a firmwide meeting scheduled for Tuesday, sources tell the Daily Journal.

Meanwhile, Thelen chairman Stephen O’Neal is discussing a jump to Howrey along with a group of about 30 lawyers from the firm’s construction and mass torts practice, a source told the Recorder. The deal could be finalized within 10 days, according to the publication.

The Daily Journal story (sub. req.) says dissolution is expected to be on the agenda at the partnership meeting, along with offers from other firms interested in hiring Thelen lawyers.

Thelen reportedly has been asking other firms to hire its lawyers since the failure of merger talks with Nixon Peabody. The Nixon firm is still interested in Thelen lawyers and may be hiring a large group of them, the Daily Journal story says.

A Thelen partner who did not want to be named told the Recorder that many partners are angry that O’Neal “is spending more time on his own situation than the firm’s situation.” O’Neal oversaw the 2006 merger of Thelen Reid & Priest with Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner, one of several factors viewed as contributing to Thelen’s problems.

The Daily Journal story says the merger was reportedly a bad deal because of Brown Raysman’s debt and “a lack of synergy in practice areas.” The article identifies other problems as subpar billing rates and excess office space.

About 200 lawyers have left Thelen since the merger.

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