Posted by Andrew Longstreth
The Am Law Daily has learned that Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll name partner Michael Hausfeld will be striking out on his own. The reasons for his departure were unclear but on Friday he sent a brief e-mail to attorneys he had been working with indicating that he had been “expelled” from the firm, which he described as “abrupt and unceremonious.”
“In the meantime, I will be launching a new firm, Hausfeld LLP,” he wrote in the e-mail. “Hausfeld LLP will handle competition and other complex litigation in the United States, and throughout the world. Along with my partners and colleagues, I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.”
Late Monday afternoon, Hausfeld issued a press release offering a few more details about his next act. The practice will be headquartered in Washington D.C. and, according to the release, expects to “provide domestic and international legal services in the areas of competition law, human rights, product liability civil rights, environmental law, and securities.”
In an interview with the Am Law Daily, Cohen Milstein name partner Steven Toll confirmed that Hausfeld had left the firm, but declined to comment further. He said that a “certain number of lawyers” will join Hausfeld at his new firm.
“We don’t know yet,” said Toll, when asked how many clients Hausfeld would take with him. “We expect the clients that dealt primarily with Michael will more than likely—he’ll ask them to retain him at his new firm—and we expect that many of them will, but it’s only a small portion of our business.”
Hausfeld’s release said the new firm will include between 25 and 30 lawyers and that some would be from his former firm. A e-mail message and phone call to Hausfeld were not immediately returned.
Hausfeld was head of Cohen Milstein’s antitrust group, widely considered the firm’s biggest strength. According to his bio, which was still available on the firm’s website as of Monday afternoon, he served as co-lead counsel in antitrust cases involving bulk vitamin manufacturers, managed-healthcare companies, and international industrial cartels. Recently, Hausfeld has been representing plaintiffs against the tobacco industry over the sale of “light” cigarettes.