Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Construction Practice Crumbling

Construction law has never been my forte (nor was it Howrey's forte for the vast majority of its existence), but I received a news alert this morning that Barbara Werther and Stephen Palley have left the DC office for a firm called Ober | Kaler.  I love firms that incorporate wacky characters into their names.

I still have no idea why Howrey acquired Thelen Reid's construction practice.  Although it was a talented group of attorneys, it seems like this was a complete misfit within Howrey's self-promoted three-legged stool of antitrust, IP, and "global litigation."  Maybe everything can fit into "Global Litigation," including slip-n-fall, DUI, and elder law.

26 comments:

  1. Maybe they can still get in on the DePuy Hip Implant class "action"....

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  2. Don't forget ambulance chasing class actions....

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  3. Your last statement has been my greatest gripe with the firm in recent years. This paradoxical proclamation of "focus" on three discrete practice areas: IP, Antitrust and Everything Else which increased in absurdity reaching a destructive critical mass with the Thelen acquisition.

    I know hindsight is 20/20, but had the firm stayed lean and exclusively maintained its bread and butter IP and Antitrust practices, it would still be a powerhouse. Growth without purpose or vision other than just growth itself is characteristic of both management's MO and cancer.

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  4. My shrink says it's okay to have schadenfreude and so I have to admit I'm loving this. I suspect I am not alone.

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  5. Of course, it's OK to dance at the grave of Howrey.

    Such a colossally mismanaged firm with the firm leader's head strictly up his ass.

    ~Skaddenfreude

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  6. I can imagine a disgruntled associate who was asked to leave 1.5 years ago stroking the Howrey nameplate in the lobby on his way out and whispering the words, "thinner." Spooky.

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  7. "Skaddenfreude" (5:38). Had to laugh at that one. Thanks for the chuckle, TN.

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  8. 5:02 seems right. Avoid Thelen and Day Casebeer, and avoid dropping $30-50 million into high end ambulance chasing (plaintiffs class action cases), and there could be a strong and profitable core. Some weak areas to be pruned, but a large successful firm maybe. Those laterals were expensive and produced no income for months. Caused a lot of bleeding. Chasing class actions did the same. Too bad they didn't get new chairman in at end 2007.

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  9. The plaintiffs' work was the most confusing. There are a small number of firms that do both well (Quinn, Boise, and, uh...), but there's a reason that the vast majority of the best plaintiffs' shops do only plaintiffs' work; it's a totally different business model that calls for completely different skills. Just picking a handful of class actions is essentially like playing the slots.

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  10. Why is this being so drawn out? Any idea when they are going to make a formal announcement that Howrey is history?

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  11. 6:08 - Produced no income? We brought you a trial the first month, you ingrate, then two more large matters following right on it. But you're right about everything else.

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  12. To everyone participating in this thread --

    Sorry about the tiny pink Howrey on your resume.

    It's going to be a black mark.

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  13. @6:40. I think one of the problems with the lateral acquisitions was not necessarily that any of them individually couldn't be justified, but that collectively they were incredibly expensive and totally without focus.

    (sorry about the use of the word focus, it was just the one that came to mind)

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  14. Maybe they'll have to change the name of the firm to Hobeck

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  15. I am still waiting for the world renowned fixer, Bob Green, to stop the partner defections.

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  16. How's the Howreydoin blog doin now?

    - Bob Green

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  17. Bob Green? Bob Green couldn't fix his way out of a paper bag!

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  24. Sorry to pull the plug on you Undercover Writer, but you are fouling up the comments with non-Howrey related musings and self-promotion.

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  25. No worries, I understand. Good luck with your blog, you're doing a great job keeping people informed!

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  26. 6:08: How very Howe-re-ish.

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