Departures to Hogan Lovells Leave Stroock Uncertain
Hogan Lovells has welcomed the arrival of more than 30 partners from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, leaving the firm with an uncertain future following failed merger talks.
Among the high-profile additions to Hogan Lovells is Jeff Keitelman, the co-managing partner of Stroock, based in New York, and the co-chair of its real estate division.
It is believed that other partners are poised to join Hogan Lovells in key locations such as New York, Washington, Miami, and Los Angeles.
The exodus of partners from Stroock, including several real estate law experts, amounts to a loss of more than half of Stroock’s partnership.
Stroock, a firm with a storied 150-year history, is renowned for its expertise in restructuring and real estate, both departments in the law firm that have been severely hit by the defections to Hogan Lovells.
Seeking A Merger Partner
Stroock has been grappling with the challenge of finding a merger partner for quite some time. In a recent development, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw & Pittman officially terminated discussions about a potential merger with Stroock, citing immediate financial and other risks facing the firm.
When questioned about whether Stroock had provided guidance to its legal professionals and staff to explore opportunities elsewhere, a spokesperson for the firm declined to comment.
The group transitioning to Hogan Lovells includes both litigation and transactional lawyers, expanding the capabilities of the firm.
Hogan Lovells, one of the LawFuel ‘Prestige List’ firms‘, CEO Miguel Zaldivar revealed that discussions with this group began in August, shortly after he secured another term in his leadership position. The negotiations were spearheaded by partners from Hogan’s corporate and REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) practices.
Zaldivar said that Hogan Lovells was not pursuing a full-scale merger with Stroock. Instead, the new hires are set to enhance Hogan’s REIT division, offering increased expertise and services to their clients.
“They should feel this is a much better alternative. It’s a strong platform committed to New York and has deep roots with clients they service. So we tested it and they felt the same. They felt the synergies were there, and it actually moved quite fast,” Zaldivar said.
This move isn’t the first time Stroock has experienced significant departures. In the previous year, more than 40 bankruptcy lawyers left Stroock to join rival law firm Paul Hastings.
Zaldivar acknowledged, “To be quite frank, there was a very prominent firm that did a very similar deal picking up the restructuring team from Stroock. Another firm picked up the insurance team. It’s very common to happen when you have situations like the one that this team was experiencing.”
The Hogan Lovells hires were initially reported by The American Lawyer.