Dan Garner – We’ve previously reported on the desertion rate of the ‘SEALS’ at law firm Pierce Bainbridge, but it seems more – many more – are jumping.
The latest sign that the self-proclaimed “Fastest Growing Law Firm in the History of the World” is going in reverse, is the apparent departure of eight attorneys including one of counsel and one partner in the latter half of the year.
This is in addition to six senior partners that recently hit the escape hatch. That is a total of around fourteen attorneys abandoning Team Pierce. A list of additional departed attorneys is listed below.
When six senior partners left, Pierce stated, to the American Lawyer:
“Our people must have not only thick skin, but skin made of kevlar combined with titanium at times. The only lawyers who should join our firm are the ones . . . who can swallow some risk.” – Pierce Bainbridge Managing Partner John Pierce commenting on six partners abandoning the firm – October 17, 2019.
The senior partners had all been lawyers for over 20 years and had succeeded in well-respected law firms and legal environments – Ropes & Gray, Kasowitz Benson, Baker McKenzie, McKool Smith and the United States Attorney’s Office.
While Pierce claimed, he “respected” them, his machismo-steeped comment appears fairly clearly meant to be a classless insult.
The departures likely stung Pierce particularly hard given his schtick about growth and extravagant musings about surpassing firms like “Quinn Emanuel and Wachtell Lipton in 5-to-7 years.”
Pierce’s own staff’s opinions of him appear not to have helped. The blistering criticism is on issues of the worst kind: honesty, loyalty and general stability. For example, written messages reveal his own personnel calling Pierce a variety of disparaging names ranging from ‘backstabber’ to ‘snake’.
Pierce Bainbridge last partner addition appears to have been in May 2019 — Yavar Bathaee, from Sullivan & Cromwell. Pierce stated at the time: “Our model continues to disrupt and attract, and our record growth speaks for itself.”
The apparent fourteen (14) attorney departures also “speaks for itself.” One of the individuals, Lewis had previously referred to as a “Star Associate;” another appears to have removed Pierce Bainbridge from their work history on LinkedIn.
Pierce boasted in December 2018 about a “happy-warrior litigation platform.” Happy-warriors, however, do not leave, they particularly do not leave in droves. Be that as it may, the jury is still out, Rudy Giuliani just retained the firm, and maybe John Pierce, Pierce Bainbridge and a group of risk-swallowing-kevlar-and-titanium-skinned attorneys will turn things around.
The ‘Seals’ Schedule – Those Who Jumped
Jeffrey Newton – former partner, now at Kobre Kim.
Kinza Hecht – former ‘of counsel’ position, now at Hard IP LLC and Remote Docket. K Hecht is the wife of NY office Managing Partner David Hecht. Wife of PB Managing Partner David Hecht. Her LinkedIn page has no mention of Pierce Bainbridge. She was on the firm’s website for months. Given her husband is a named partner of the firm this raises eyebrows.
Minoti Patel – former Associate, now at Grant & Eisenhofer PA.
W. Tyler Perry – former Associate, now at Reid Collins & Tsai LLP.
Abbye Ognibene – former Associate, now at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.
Elizabeth DeGori – former Associate.
Cassie Black – former Associate.
Matthew Kokot – former Associate.
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