LeClairRyan has added to its growing number of lateral losses as Fox Rothschild announced it had landed the firm’s aviation group made up of 15 attorneys across several U.S. offices.
The team is led by two prominent LeClairRyan aviation practice partners, Mark Dombroff and Diane Westwood Wilson and will work out of Fox Rothschild’s offices in Washington, New York, Dallas, San Francisco, West Palm Beach, Fla., and in a new office in Northern Virginia.
It’s another significant loss for LeClairRyan, which has shed several attorney groups over the last year.
The aviation group leaving for Fox Rothschild provides counsel for leading domestic and international commercial airlines, engine and component part manufacturers, airport developers, and a range of related businesses.
“Mark, Diane and their team are entrenched in the aviation space and have been involved in nearly every significant airline matter and incident in the United States and abroad,” said Mark L. Silow, chair of Fox Rothschild, in a statement.
A Fox Rothschild spokeswoman confirmed that 13 other attorneys are making the move along with Dombroff and Wilson, but she did not provide their names, nor specify their titles.
“We have cultivated extensive relationships with clients in every facet of the aviation industry, and we look forward to utilizing Fox’s nationwide platform as a launchpad to continue to deliver the pragmatic business solutions and innovative legal strategies our U.S. and global clients are accustomed to receiving,” Dombroff said in a statement.
Wilson and Dombroff will continue to host the annual Airline Symposium, which includes panels on best practices on how to manage accidents and other aircraft incidents.
The headcount decline at LeClairRyan can be traced back a few years. According to AmLaw data, the firm dropped from 302 attorneys in 2017, to 273 in 2018. That included a decrease of 34 equity partners during that time, from 124 down to 90.
At the same time, gross revenues decreased almost $20 million to $122.5 million between 2017 and 2018, and the firm dropped 10 spots on the AmLaw rankings.
The attorney departures have continued in 2019. In June, for example, five LeClairRyan lawyers left to join Duane Morris. This followed the loss of 18 LeClairRyan lawyers, including 13 partners, to Atlanta-based Freeman Mathis & Gary, in January.
When asked for comment about the aviation team, a LeClairRyan representative passed a call to the firm’s general counsel and head of its Roanoke, Va. office, Lori Thompson, who did not immediately respond.