The high-profile co-chairman of Altheimer & Gray, Louis Goldman, has resigned in a surprise move that is expected to lead to a management shake-up at the Chicago firm.
Goldman, who resigned from the firm last Wednesday (14 May), exercised considerable influence over its development, overseeing the firm’s international strategy in addition to co-chairing the US firm alongside Gery Chico, Michael Peck and Philip Gordon.
The firm’s managing partner Jeffrey Smith will take over all of Goldman’s responsibilities for the immediate future.
The resignation coincides with a major period of retrenchment at the firm’s Chicago HQ which has seen it shed more than 30 lawyers in a bid to boost profitability.
During his career, Goldman was instrumental in establishing Altheimers as one of the first US firms to open a Shanghai branch and last year engineered the firm’s Paris launch through its merger with five-partner Paris firm Cournot Asociation d’Avocats.
At the time Goldman said the French launch would give Altheimers a springboard into other western European countries, with Germany expected to be next on the agenda.
Nonetheless, sources at the firm indicated that stalled profit growth in Chicago had led to an increased emphasis on the financial performance of the firm’s existing international network, for which Goldman took overall responsibility.
As revealed by Legal Week (15 May), the firm’s London arm has already taken action to increase its bottom line by managing out three partners and laying off a small number of associates and support staff.
As well as its 37-lawyer London arm, which was opened in 1999, the US firm has eastern European offices in six cities.
One Altheimers partner told Legal Week: “The resignation has certainly come as a surprise and none of us are yet aware of what [Goldman’s] next move will be.”
Goldman could not be reached for comment.