Network Firm News

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Lessons Learned from the Fall of Brobeck
Peter D. Zeughauser -- The American Lawyer -- 05-01-2003
Zeughauser opines:
-- Brobeck increased its head count at a rate that until then was unthinkable.
-- Within the firm, there appears to have been a serious failure to communicate.
-- A firm with a history of strong leaders suddenly found itself without one.
-- Brobeck acted much too slowly to cut overhead after the dot bomb.
-- Oversized debt, real estate, and staffing obligations.
-- Firm leaders allowed the financial crisis to drive a deep, vicious wedge into the partnership, forcing partners to take sides.
-- At a time when the firm would have benefited from the deliberative efforts of a massive group of talented lawyers, a smaller group took matters into its own hands.
-- Law firms shouldn't carry big debts in an era of unprecedented cherry-picking.
-- Brobeck was killed by the same thing that had killed firms before it: books of business walking out the door. Powerful partners with big books of business found greener pastures elsewhere, taking their clients with them.
 

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