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by Vault Law Editors | February 03, 2009


Akin Gump lost more partners in 2008 than any other AmLaw-tracked firm?59 in total, or 17 percent of its aristocracy. The July departures of former executive committee member Robert Wyatt Jr. (to Hunton & Williams, with eight other partners in tow) and 28-year Gumpster Michael Madigan (to Orrick) effectively flipped the switch from "steady stream" to "outright exodus." Nevertheless, Akin Gump released its figures for the year yesterday that showed a nearly 4 percent revenue bump and, of far less note, profits-per-partner growth of close to 17 percent. In Akin's defense, some of the defections had been anticipated to a degree as partners responded to a firmwide realignment that shifted focus away from certain practices and offices (the local and state government team in Austin lost the bulk of its heavyweights, for one, and the entire Palo Alto patent law branch bolted for Alston & Bird).

Chairman R. Bruce McLean framed the rash of departures as so much collateral damage in an overhaul that has been a qualified success to this point. (McLean did reflect with regret on the plight of 12 labor and employment partners who left when the firm attempted to reshape the practice to focus more on corporate class action and less on single-plaintiff defense, calling the attorneys "extremely talented" and admitting that "we didn't plan on losing all of them.") Nevertheless, he seized on the opportunity to take one last jab at certain unnamed departed while apparently coining a new moniker for partners whose billings don't quite match their egos: "You can't believe everything you read," McLean asserted. "Just because someone says they're a rainmaker, doesn't mean they're making rain. Sometimes it's more like fog."

-posted by ben fuchs


Filed Under: Law

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