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Thacher Proffitt Is No More; Fourth Biglaw Collapse This Year
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Thacher Proffitt & Wood - 1848-2008Thacher Proffitt & Wood, the 160-year-old New York-based law firm, will close forever.  The subprime crisis slashed demand for its structured-finance practice, and more than half of its attorneys have left for a competitor.

Thacher Proffitt will wind down operations next year. Its planning committee failed to reach a merger agreement with an unidentified firm (known to be King & Spalding) over the past six months.

A group of about 100 Thacher Proffitt lawyers, including 40 partners, will join Chicago-based Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, bringing that firm’s total number of lawyers to about 800.


Thacher Profitt is the fourth major US law firm to announce plans to close this year. Thelen, a San Francisco firm that was, like Thacher Proffitt, focused on structured finance, has shut down. Heller Ehrman, a 118-year-old firm that once boasted about 700 lawyers, also collapsed. And New York-based Dreier filed for bankruptcy protection after its founder was jailed and accused of cheating investors out of more than $100 million.

Thacher Proffitt, which had about 195 lawyers before the departures, put up for sublease all five floors of its headquarters this year. In October, it closed its office in White Plains, New York.

Some Thacher Proffitt lawyers were hired by the US Treasury Department on December 10th, to assist in purchasing asset-backed securities under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The attorneys will be paid as much as $500,000 for the work.

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Sonnenschein is also facing slowing demand for legal services. The firm has fired 62 lawyers and about 175 staff since May due to “tumult in the financial markets.” The new hires will double the size of the firm’s New York office.

Via Bloomberg.



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