In the summer of 2005, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo unveiled a major initiative to enhance the firm’s ethnic diversity, hiring 12 predominantly minority labor and employment attorneys in one fell swoop. The hires were considered so newsworthy that they leapt the fence of the legal trade press to make the pages of The New York Times, The Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune, which heralded the hires under the headline “Firm adds diversity in one bold stroke.”

Now, however, the rave reviews have fallen silent, as the attorneys have scattered to competing firms, leaving in their wake questions about how the much-touted group could fall apart in such a short period of time. In May, partner Robert Clayton left for Littler Mendelson’s Washington, D.C., office. In October, Gilbert Casellas, a former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a partner at Mintz Levin, followed Clayton out the door, going in-house with computer maker Dell Inc. in Austin, Texas, as vice president of corporate responsibility. November saw another partner, Singleton McAllister, leave to lead the federal government relations practice at LeClairRyan’s D.C. office.