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Wake Up Call: Bryan Cave Profits Surge as Partnership Shrinks

Feb. 10, 2022, 1:35 PM

In today’s column, a majority of law firm employees want to work remotely most of the time, a survey found; a big U.K. firm plans to merge with an Irish firm; the U.K.’s legal profession watchdog warned firms against “unreasonable workloads” on staff.

  • Leading off, after a revenue drop in 2020, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner vowed to prioritize its core practices. For 2021, the transatlantic firm posted revenues up 2.1% to $878.4 million and profits per equity party up 29.1% to $1.08 million, their first time past $1 million. But the firm lost 14.8% of its equity partners and 8.6% of its overall head count, according to a report based on early data. (American Lawyer)
  • Most law firm employees want to work remotely most of the time, but they’d like to be in the office one day a week, according to a report citing a survey by a legal recruiting firm. (American Lawyer) After delays because of the surge in omicron-variant Covid-19, Los Angeles trial courts will fully resume procedures next week, a report says. (The Recorder)
  • The U.K.’s legal profession watchdog, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, warned law firms that “wholly unreasonable workloads or targets” on staff could land the firms and their managers in a disciplinary action. “We have received complaints that some firms have an unsupportive, bullying or toxic working environment and culture,” the regulator says in new “workplace environment” guidance. (Legal Futures)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Addleshaw Goddard, a 1,200-lawyer London-based firm, is set to merge March 1 with a 25-partner Dublin law firm in a post-Brexit move that would make Addleshaw a major player in the Irish legal market. (Financial News) (Irish Times)
  • Davis Polk & Wardwell is advising waste-management company Republic Services, Inc. on its approximately $2.2 billion acquisition of its smaller rival, US Ecology, Inc., which is advised by Dechert. (BLAW)
  • Houston-based Bracewell announced market-matching bonuses for associates but delayed Milbank-scale salary hikes. (Above The Law)

Pro Bono

  • A decade after a Supreme Court ruling, Latham & Watkins team got an important win for an Alabama death row inmate. (National Law Journal)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Steptoe & Johnson said litigation and investigations partner Brigida Benitez, former chair of the DC Bar, will take on the role of firm general counsel while maintaining her practice. She replaces Gwendolyn Prothro Renigar, who held the GC role for several years before becoming Steptoe’s chair on Jan. 1 this year; Nixon Peabody appointed life sciences practice co-chair Seth Levy to lead its intellectual property practice. Levy was also former L.A. office managing partner at the firm; Bressler, Amery & Ross named financial institutions practice principal Thomas Roberts as New York office managing principal. (
  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher recruited tax partner Bryan Kelly in Los Angeles. He arrives from Withers, where he was a partner and L.A. office managing director; Squire Patton Boggs hired public and infrastructure finance of counsel Laurie Schwartz in Atlanta. She arrives from Butler Snow; Buchalter added three attorneys in Seattle. Shareholder Marissa Alkhasov and senior counsel Midori Sagara joined its litigation practice group. Associate Jonathan Mahoney joined its real estate practice; Fisher Phillips hired employment lawyer Chelsea Whelan in San Francisco. (
  • Packaging company WestRock said energy and manufacturing industry in-house veteran Denise Cade will take over as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary from retiring Robert (Bob) B. McIntosh. Cade, a former Big Law partner, arrives from manufacturing company IDEX Corporation, where she was senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary; the Senate Wednesday confirmed Kramer Levin complex litigation chair John P. “Sean” Coffey as the U.S. Navy’s general counsel. (

Legal Education

  • Legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa announced a partnership with BARBRI, a bar exam prep and legal education company, to produce guidance to help law students enter the profession. ”This initiative will be a building block in establishing a career-long relationship with MLA for life,” said Eliza Stoker, executive director of MLA’s associate practice group. (PRWeb)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at