Lovells is beginning the process of closing down its Chicago office ahead of the firm's May 1 merger with Hogan & Hartson. The decision, which still has to be approved by Lovells' partners, was made by the management team of Lovells, though Hogan & Hartson has been informed of it.
In a statement Tuesday, Lovells managing partner David Harris said the decision to shut down the office came after reviewing the seven-partner office's finances.
"This is an area which has seen changes in work patterns and the office has been affected by a number of significant conflict situations," Harris said. "Despite the best efforts of partners in Chicago and elsewhere, this has had an impact on the office's overall performance in recent years and the position is not expected to change."
The closure is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31.
For Hogan, which does not have a Chicago office, closing the office means the firm will not add a presence in the Windy City when it merges with Lovells. That said, according to the Lovells Web site, the merger will add about 45 lawyers to Hogan's New York office.
The loss of the Chicago office is the latest in a series of departures from both firms as the merger deadline looms nearer.
In January, three partners left Lovells' New York office for Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, citing conflicts. Hogan's Warsaw office also opted out of the Hogan-Lovells merger when it joined K&L Gates earlier this month. And last week, news broke that 18 partners left Hogan's Berlin office to start their own firm, Raue, instead of joining the megafirm.
This article first appeared on The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.