Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, March 11, 2011


Page 1


Howrey LLP Winding Down After Partners Vote to Dissolve


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The national law firm of Howrey LLP has voted to dissolve, affecting dozens of employees locally, although few would talk about it yesterday.

The firm said in a release late Wednesday that the partners had voted to terminate the firm’s existence, effective Tuesday of next week.

A directory on the firm’s website indicated that 36 attorneys remain at Howrey’s 550 South Hope Street office. Those with working numbers were contacted by the MetNews,  but all but one declined comment or did not return calls.

Partner Richard J. Burdge remarked that he was “sad” the firm was closing, since “it was a great firm” with “a great bunch of lawyers” and “a good place to work.”

At the office yesterday, he said, “some people are still doing cases”  or boxing up files and cleaning up their offices.

He said some of his colleagues “have already made deals and signed up” with new firms and the others “are pretty close to where they’re going.” Burdge said he has been giving recommendations for attorneys and the firm was setting up some job fairs to help its employees transition to new positions.

“I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to do,” Burdge added, although he declined to discuss his plans in detail.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Ruyak said in a release that the firm “had experienced disappointing financial performance over the past two years,” and that “an orderly wind down of the firm’s activities over time was the only practical alternative” following the resignation of several partners.

Ruynak remarked that this is “a very difficult time” for the firm and its remaining members since “[m]any of us have spent our entire legal careers at Howrey and remain proud of what we built.”

Latham & Watkins LLP partner Peter Gilhuly, who is advising Howrey on its wind-down efforts, declined to comment yesterday. The bankruptcy attorney is based in Los Angeles and has previously advised on the dissolutions of Thelen, Darby & Darby, and Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison.

A group of partners, associates and support staff, mostly from Howrey’s Houston office, will join Winston & Strawn LLP, according to the statement.

The 55-year old Washington D.C.-based law firm once had nearly 700 attorneys in 17 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. More than 140 partners have left Howrey since April, according to an American Lawyer report.

Howrey ranked 58th by gross revenue on the American Lawyer’s 2010 list of large U.S. firms with $480 million in 2009.


Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company