The Demise Of A Once-Powerful Law Firm

Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner was the biggest in LA. No longer. It is getting evicted from its office space and is closing shop.

Case Type: UD/Commercial (not Drugs/Evict) (General Jurisdiction) Case#: SC100700 CASE NAME: CENTURY PARK, L.P. VS THELEN REID BROWN RAYSMAN & STEINER Parties: CENTURY PARK L.P. – Plaintiff,THELEN LLP. – Defendant,THELEN REID BROWN RAYMAN & STEINER LLP. – Defendant Attorneys: GOODKIN DANIEL L – Attorney for Plaintiff Date Filed: 11/21/2008

Larry Bodine blogs:

According to a report in New York Lawyer, the Partnership Council of 400-lawyer Thelen announced it voted to dissolve the firm. The firm expected to close on Dec. 1.

An early sign of trouble for Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner came last March, when the firm laid off 26 associates (which was 10% of their associates) and 85 members of its support staff, including members of the west coast marketing staff. In March the firm had 600 lawyers. Recent reports surfaced lately that top Thelen lawyers, including Chairman Stephen O’Neal was negotiating for a spot at to Howrey and rainmaking energy partner Ellen Bastier was on the cusp of joining Reed Smith

Thelen was an international AmLaw 100 law firm with offices in Hartford, Los Angeles, New York, Northern New Jersey, San Francisco, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, San Jose, and Washington, DC.

The news report says that about 60 lawyers could end up at Nixon Peabody — which until recent weeks had been viewed as a potential merger partner for Thelen. "Was it a surprise today? No. Was it a surprise overall? Yes," a San Francisco associate told "I mean, two years ago we were in a strong position."

"It’s very disappointing, even though it was just a matter of time," said a legal secretary, asking not to be named. She will be at Thelen until the end of November, and said she doesn’t know what’s next for her. But even some partners don’t know where they will end up, she added.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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