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CHICAGO � Jenner & Block, which has its largest office in Chicago, will close its small four-lawyer office in Dallas early next year after little growth of the office since it was opened in 2000. Two government contract attorneys in the office who will remain with the firm are moving to Washington while the other two lawyers have plans to leave the firm, said Gregory Gallopoulos, the firm’s managing partner. The firm is closing the office principally because it made sense to have the government contracts lawyers, William Stoughton and Kathy Weinberg, working in Washington with the rest of their practice group, Gallopoulos said. A cost perspective The closing also seemed like the best decision from a cost perspective when the firm considered how to handle the expiration of the office’s lease at the end of this year, he said. Stoughton and Weinberg couldn’t be reached for comment. “Most of the time when firms open offices in other cities they expect them to grow,” said Mark Jungers, a legal recruiter for legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa who covers the Dallas market. “For whatever reason, they didn’t grow and now that has got to be a real tall hurdle.” Firms typically are in the best position to expand their new offices in the honeymoon period just after opening, but if they stagnate it becomes more difficult, said Jungers, who is an attorney and heads his firm’s partner practice group for the Midwest. In Texas, that’s particularly true because it’s a place where there are strong pre-existing legal ties through, for example, college alumni groups, and less openness to outsiders, he said. Gallopoulos, who is based in Chicago, said that closing the office has nothing to do with how the firm fared in building a market for its services in the Texas city because the office wasn’t opened with an eye to cultivating a clientele in Dallas. Rather, the firm opened the office mainly because attorneys it had hired from another firm, McKenna & Cuneo, at that time preferred to stay in Dallas, he said. “The only reason the office opened was that we acquired a very important government contracts practice which had one key partner in Texas,” Gallopoulos said. That practice group from McKenna & Cuneo, now McKenna, Long & Aldridge, included only one partner in Dallas, Stoughton. Weinberg, who is now of counsel, was an associate when she joined Jenner. David Churchill, who is now the chairman of Jenner’s government contracts practice in Washington, also came with the McKenna & Cuneo group. Stoughton, Weinberg and two other associates had done “substantial work with General Dynamics,” Jenner said when it opened the Texas office in November 2000 with the four lawyers. A change in the flow of work coming from General Dynamics could have had something to do with the decision to close the office, though there isn’t any evidence that the relationship changed, Jungers said. Gallopoulos said that General Dynamics is still a “major client.” The two Jenner attorneys in Dallas who will be leaving the firm are Bradley Areheart, an associate, and Carol Wilhelm, who is of counsel. Although the firm is closing its office in Dallas, it’s looking forward to moving to two brand new offices in Chicago and Washington during the next two years. The firm will move into the new Washington office next summer and into the new Chicago office in November 2009, Gallopoulos said. Jenner & Block, a litigation-focused firm with 495 attorneys, according to the NLJ 250, The National Law Journal‘s annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms, earlier this year decided to shift between 15 and 20 partners from equity to nonequity status, with some asked to leave the firm and others prodded toward retirement in a management plan to cut equity partners during the next year or two, sources said in June. The firm declined to comment at the time. [NLJ, June 11.]

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