FisherBroyles, a law firm that eschews big-ticket offices, has hired four partners in the U.K. from prominent Big Law firms in the so-called “virtual” firm’s largest international expansion.
The move comes while traditional firms are cutting salaries and struggling to re-open their own offices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.K. hires bring FisherBroyles’ London offering to 10 lawyers since it opened in February. The latest hires previously worked at firms that include Davis Polk, DLA Piper, and Seyfarth Shaw.
FisherBroyles’ all-partners business model lets lawyers keep a larger percentage, up to 80%, of their billings than most traditional Big Law partnerships. It calls itself a “distributed firm,” and opened in 2002. Headcount and revenues doubled in two years following the 2008 Great Recession, according to the firm which now has 260 partners in 23 markets, mostly in the U.S.
The firm has offices in some cities, but they are often used on a scheduled basis for client meetings. Otherwise, partners work from home.
Most Big Law offices remain shuttered with big-market cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles under stay-at-home orders. The path to re-opening those offices remains unclear. Most expect that when office life resumes, temperature checks and social distancing mean there will not be a return to normalcy.
“The firm has zero debt and has never had the expense of prime real estate or overhead associated with traditional law firms,” Kevin Broyles, a co-founder and managing partner, said in a statement. “This means economic risk is not passed on to our partners, making us an attractive alternative for partners looking to leave traditional law firms and join a firm that was built to survive, and thrive, in any economic environment.”
The new lawyers joining FisherBroyles’ London offering include:
– Richard Flaggert, who spent nearly a decade at DLA Piper and practices in the intellectual property practice.
– Daniel Larkin, who joined from Seyfarth, is a U.K.-licensed solicitor who practices in cross-border investments.
– Thomas Wiesner, who joined from Davis Polk’s Madrid office, and handles a variety of capital markets work.
– Ben Lasserson is a litigator who joined from Strange & Butler and had been a Pinsent Masons partner.
FisherBroyles has hired two other partners in London this year. They include Peter Finding, who joined in January and practices in executive compensation and benefits as well as international employment law. Rory Graham, a technology and outsourcing lawyer, also joined in January. He has previously worked at firms including Morgan Lewis, Baker McKenzie, and Bird & Bird.
Michael Pierson, the managing partner of FisherBroyles’ global corporate practice, said in an interview the firm would continue hiring in London and was talking to candidates in Milan, Singapore, and Dubai.
“We don’t have to pay guaranteed compensation packages to these new partners in new jurisdictions because of our formula, and it is still a better deal for them,” Pierson, a former assistant general counsel at Goldman Sachs, said. “Based on the books of business they have, they can receive far more compensation than they would by being the managing partner of their firms’ Dubai or Milan or Singapore offices.”