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Skadden Lawyers Jump on the Startup Law Firm Bandwagon

Two weeks back, my colleague Bob Ambrogi wrote that "solo is the new SoHo,"arguing that solo practice is fast becoming a top career option for laid-off lawyers. It seems that two Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom litigators, Andrew Sandler and Benjamin Klubes, took Ambrogi's trendspotting to heart. Yesterday they announced to the firm's associates that they're jumping ship to form their own law firm, BuckleySandler, reports Above the Law. Of course, make no mistake, Sandler and Klubes are off to a flashier start than their humble predecessors Marshall, John and Les, the trio of lawyers who started Skadden back in the day along with associate Joe Flom. By contrast, BuckleySandler will include 36 lawyers from the firm Buckley Kolar, a D.C.-based boutique focusing on regulatory issues. And Sandler will also become CEO of Corporate Risk Advisors, a multidisciplinary consulting firm providing catering to the financial services industry.

Sandler assured associates that his exit was motivated by a desire for change rather than concern about the firm's stability. But Professor Larry Ribstein isn't so sure. He writes:

I don’t know about Skadden in particular, but this move has significant implications for Big Law. As I've been saying, here, the model of law firm as worker coop highly leveraged by the inverted pyramid of associate leverage is doomed. The associates no longer can pay the stars enough to make them stay.

When it starts happening even at a firm like Skadden, you know, notwithstanding comforting noises by law firm managers, and deep in your heart, that I'm right.

Will we be seeing more big firm spin-offs like BuckleySandler in the future? Share your thoughts below.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 20, 2009 at 03:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

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