Heller Ehrman partners will vote to dissolve the firm on Friday.
The news was announced by Chairman Matt Larrabee at a meeting that began at 1 p.m. Thursday, according to a Heller staffer attending the meeting.
Larrabee told all attorneys and staff that dissolution is unavoidable and that the partnership will voluntarily dissolve. Staff will be paid on Friday, Larrabee said, and indicated that under the federal WARN Act, associates and staff would be paid for the next 60 days. A small group of staff would remain beyond that date to handle the winding down of the firm's business.
Serious questions about the 118-year-old firm's ability to survive were raised at the beginning of last week when merger talks with Mayer Brown collapsed and a group of 14 intellectual property partners announced they were leaving the firm.
As recently as 2004, Heller ranked second on The American Lawyer's A-list, a ranking of firms based on a variety of factors such as profitability, pro bono representation, associate satisfaction and diversity ratings.
Cal Law will have more information as it becomes available.