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The Washington office of Atlanta-based Powell Goldstein lost 10 more lawyers last week, bringing the D.C. head count to 52 lawyers. Six years ago, Powell’s D.C. outpost had 110 attorneys. Last week’s departures spanned practice areas. Peggy Clarke, formerly a partner in Powell’s international, export controls, and trade remedies groups, left for Blank Rome. Partner Leonard Rubin went to the financial institutions practice of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. A seven-lawyer chunk — including partners Ronald Gart, Christa Dommers, and Adam Walsh — also broke off from Powell’s D.C. real estate practice, going to Seyfarth Shaw. W. Bruce Shirk, who headed the government contracts practice in the District, left for Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. And earlier this month, Powell’s D.C. office lost parts of its health care and tax practices. The first signs of trouble came in 2001, when the office’s founding partner, Stuart Eizenstat, didn’t return after an eight-year stint in the Clinton administration. In 2002, Sidley Austin poached the office’s 33-lawyer international trade practice. Legal recruiters and former Powell lawyers say the firm is in serious discussions with Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, and many say a merger may be necessary to keep the D.C. office afloat. That union would create an 800-lawyer Southeastern powerhouse with combined revenues of nearly $400 million. Powell Chairman James McAlpin Jr. and D.C. managing partner Allen Rugg did not return calls seeking comment.
Marisa McQuilken can be contacted at [email protected].

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