Cummings & Lockwood, one of Connecticut’s leading law firms, announced today that the firm has decided to restructure its operations into one integrated private client and business legal practice. As part of this effort, a group of attorneys in its Hartford, Conn., office will relocate to another law firm.
The restructuring plan, which terminates the firm’s unique bifurcated structure, is the result of a comprehensive, year-long strategic review that identified the firm’s strongest markets and practice areas and the optimum structure to serve its client base of high-net-worth individuals and businesses.
As a result, Cummings & Lockwood will operate once again as one unified practice with expertise in trust and estate planning and administration, fiduciary services, probate and commercial litigation, closely-held business, finance and general corporate representation, tax planning, charitable giving, real estate law and other areas of legal concern to its clients. For the past three years, the firm had two operating divisions that separately served business and individual clients.
In addition, Cummings & Lockwood decided to assist approximately 30 of its attorneys in joining another law firm. Almost all of the departing lawyers were part of Cummings & Lockwood’s Hartford office. Cummings & Lockwood concluded an agreement, effective October 1, 2003, for these attorneys to join McCarter & English of Newark, N.J. Earlier this year, Cummings & Lockwood relocated its Hartford private clients group to a new West Hartford office.
Cummings & Lockwood will now have approximately 90 attorneys and 40 related professionals, including 24 equity partners, located in Stamford, Greenwich, New Haven and West Hartford, Conn., as well as Naples and Bonita Springs, Fla. Additional firm highlights include:
— The largest trusts and estates legal practice in Connecticut and one of the five largest in the United States.
— A private client base that has a cumulative net worth in excess of $25 billion and includes numerous members of the Forbes ranking of the 400 richest Americans.
— Projected 2004 total billings in excess of $40 million.
— A 49-percent share of the total trusts and estates legal services performed by the six largest Connecticut law firms, according to the 2003 Flash Report on Law Firm Economics by Hoffman Alvary & Company.
— 15 trial attorneys in Connecticut and Florida with an exceptionally high record of success in both state and federal courts in arbitrations and mediations.
— A higher percentage of partners listed in the national peer-elected publication, The Best Lawyers in America, than any other major Connecticut-based law firm.
— More Fellows of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel than any other Connecticut law firm.
Jonathan B. Mills, chairman of Cummings & Lockwood, said: “Over the past year, we took a hard look at our firm and the differing priorities of our two divisions. While the process involved some tough choices, we quickly recognized that the best path for our firm is to dedicate ourselves to what we do best in those markets where we have a dominant share and a competitive advantage. We will now have a single operating structure. In fact, we are returning to our roots as a firm and our core values that have been shaped by our work with individuals and private businesses for more than 90 years.
“Cummings & Lockwood has a clear vision and a bright future. We will build upon our preeminent trusts and estates capabilities, while also providing the full complement of legal and other professional services that our clients require. We will continue our strong practice areas in litigation, finance, corporate and real estate that are compatible with our culture and strategy. However, we plan to do so with a higher level of personal service and a lower associates-to-partner ratio than other large firms, which will ensure that we provide the highest levels of expertise and efficiency to our clients.
“With this strong foundation, we expect to move forward with controlled but vigorous growth in our chosen markets. We already have a leadership position for private client legal services in two of America’s most affluent regions. We will consider expansion into other cities, including New York, that will enable us to enhance our existing practice areas, provide career opportunities for our lawyers and, most importantly, deliver the highest levels of service for our clients.”