Boies, Schiller & Flexner, a 258-lawyer national firm founded in 1997, is poised to open an outpost in London. It will be the Am Law 100 firm’s first office outside the United States.
News of the office opening was first reported late last week by U.K. publication Legal Week, which noted that Armonk, New York–based Boies Schiller had approached multiple London litigators about joining the firm’s new office sometime this summer. A spokeswoman for Boies Schiller confirmed to The Am Law Daily that the firm plans to establish a presence in the London market with an office in the “near-term.”
Boies Schiller’s cofounder and managing partner Jonathan Schiller—a complex litigation and international arbitration expert—is currently advising Barclays in ongoing litigation filed against the London-based banking giant following its $453 million LIBOR settlement last year with U.S. and U.K. regulators. Schiller, a former Kaye Scholer partner, formed Boies Schiller with David Boies, a former partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Flexner, formerly of Crowell & Moring, was added to Boies Schiller’s shingle in 1999.
Duane Loft, a former Cravath associate who joined Boies Schiller in 2011 and was promoted to partner at the firm last year, currently splits his time between New York and London. Loft did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his firm’s decision to set up shop across the pond, but told Legal Week that Boies Schiller has represented clients in London and hopes to open an office in the city sometime in the near future.
Last year Boies Schiller saw its gross revenue rise 2.5 percent to $325 million, while profits per partner increased 7.5 percent to $2.7 million, according to The American Lawyer’s annual Am Law 100 rankings. The profits per partner figure put Boies Schiller in the top 10 among large U.S. firms.
But the number still paled in comparison to Boies Schiller’s larger litigation rival Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, a 700-lawyer firm based out of Los Angeles that saw its own partner profits leap 6.6 percent to $4.4 million, second-highest in the country after perennial market leader Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Quinn Emanuel’s gross revenue also rose nearly 18 percent in 2012 to $852.5 million and the firm has been busy in recent months making high-profile lateral hires from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Weil, Gotshal & Manges, while announcing plans last week for a new office in Hong Kong, according to sibling publication The Asian Lawyer.
Quinn Emanuel, which has also poached partners from Boies Schiller in the past, had approached the latter firm’s founding partner David Boies a decade ago about a potential merger, according to a 2006 feature story in The American Lawyer focusing on the rapid growth of Quinn Emanuel. The American Lawyer has also reported on Boies Schiller’s expansion efforts, although since their brief merger talks the two firms have since taken different tracks.
After Boies Schiller acquired New York’s Barrett Gravante Carpinello & Stern in 2000 and Miami’s Zack Kosnitzky in 2002, the firm has used contingency fees to become one of the nation’s go-to litigation shops while also bolting on a smaller corporate practice founded by Christopher Boies (the son of David Boies), a move that Quinn Emanuel has decided against.
The Am Law Daily reported last year on Boies Schiller’s role advising longtime client the New York Yankees on their roughly $1.5 billion sale of a 49 percent stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network to News Corporation. Tax partner Michael Kosnitzky, a name partner at Zack Kosnitzky along with former American Bar Association president Stephen Zack, was one of the Boies Schiller lawyers working on the YES Network deal.
It’s the Yankees to which Boies Schiller owes its creation, as the team’s retention of founding partner David Boies for a dispute with Time Warner led Boies to leave Cravath as a result of conflict of interest concerns given its representation of Major League Baseball. (In April, Boies Schiller also advised the Yankees in the settlement of a litigation dispute with online ticket seller StubHub.)
Last week the Yankees reached a $100 million agreement with Major League Soccer to own a new expansion franchise in New York City in tandem with the English Premier League’s Manchester City. Boies Schiller was not among the six Am Law 200 firms to grab roles on that deal, according to our previous reports.
Boies Schiller, which has roughly 100 partners (44 holding equity status) across its 12 U.S. offices, has traditionally eschewed making lateral partner hires. The firm did bring back former insider trading prosecutor Andrew Michaelson from the SEC last year, only a few months before it made just the fourth-ever lateral hire in its history by adding ex-Kirkland & Ellis partner and former Philip Morris general counsel David Bernick. In March, The American Lawyer named Bernick one of its all-star lateral hires of 2012.