Boies Schillers is one of the country’s most lucrative law firms, earning partners an average of $2.7 million, according to American Lawyer magazine. So why have three people left it recently? The most recent to leave is David Bernick, who was once general counsel at big tobacco’s Philip Morris. Hiring him was supposed to be a “huge step” for Boies, but after a mere year he left. The firm has also lost two others.
As for why Bernick left, it isn’t a mystery. He claims that conflicts of interests with Boies Schiller clients prevented him from representing certain companies, as said Dawn Schneider, their spokesman, who also said “we wish him well for the future.”
Dechert, meanwhile, has been aggressively grabbing up the best lawyers of their rivals, offering deals that have tempted the best. They grabbed Bernick as well.
“David is simply one of the best lawyers out there,” Andrew J. Levander, the chairman of Dechert, to The New York Times. “He is one of a handful of elite lead trial lawyers operating on the national stage.”
Though times are leaner for high-end legal services, things aren’t really bad for Boies, who are taking on all the cases they need, what with their representation of Herballife this year, and Barclays, among others.
A more prominent concern isn’t the loss of a few lawyers – such as Mr. Shapiro who wanted to work independently, or Mr. Friedrich, who wanted a larger platform for large international investigation – but in deciding how to plan a succession for Mr. Boies for when he decides to retire. The firm has still been delivering rock star triumphs such as their successful challenge of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. They plan to also open a London office shortly, and despite a few partners leaving, are still doing wonderfully as a higher echelon law firm.