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Associates at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison expect to receive pink slips soon; the question is whether the partners will hold off until the end of the year. If they vote for layoffs before Tower Snow Jr. finishes his term as chairman, they face a public scene. Snow reiterated in a phone interview on Tuesday that if there were a layoff he would follow through on his promise and immediately step down. “I haven’t changed my view one iota,” Snow said. “If the partnership decides that’s the appropriate thing to do I would resign. It’s something I could never support.” Brobeck Phleger’s management committee is discussing the subject of layoffs in meetings Thursday and today. Snow said the committee has been discussing the issue for the last nine months. Brobeck Phleger has 860 attorneys, including 205 partners. “Everyone knows it’s coming,” one associate said. He said he heard from a partner involved in the discussions that the layoffs would be “at least as big as Cooley if not bigger.” The first firm to announce cuts in its associate ranks, Cooley Godward laid off 86 associates in August. Five other firms have since followed suit, including Fenwick & West; Skjerven Morrill MacPherson; Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian; Venture Law Group; and Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May. Pillsbury Winthrop also announced layoffs, which were limited to its New York office. Snow announced last month that he would not seek re-election to a third term as chairman. Former partners and associates say Snow lost support among the partnership because of his public statements opposing layoffs. But Snow downplayed the issue, saying the debate over layoffs didn’t play a role in his decision. He said he’d been considering whether to seek re-election all year and the events of Sept. 11 removed all doubts from his mind. “I’ve done this for four years working backbreaking hours,” Snow said. “It’s time to move on.” Asked if he would have been re-elected had he chosen to run again, Snow said he “never assumed otherwise.” “My decision was solely within the context that I could serve as long as I wanted,” Snow said. However, he added that he was not under the illusion that everybody supported him. He said he also did not have complete support during his first and second elections. As to who his successor might be, Snow said the firm’s 12-member partnership committee is now interviewing each partner to get input on the subject. Snow said he was asked if he wanted to be polled and declined. “It’s for others to pick who will lead the firm,” Snow said. “I don’t know how long I’ll be with the firm.” The one name rumored to be a candidate is Los Angeles-based Richard Odom, the leader of Brobeck Phleger’s complex litigation group. A 30-year veteran, Odom has spent his entire career at Brobeck Phleger with the exception of a one-year stint as a legal officer with the U.S. Army in 1970 and a one-year hiatus at what was then Howrey & Simon. Snow said he has not decided what he will do next. “I’m going to take time off and recharge my batteries and decide what I’m going to do,” Snow said. “I could stay at Brobeck Phleger as a senior partner or take a job in the business world or academia or governmental service.” Snow had applied for the position of dean at the University of Oregon School of Law at the urging of a professor there who had worked with Snow during his tenure at Shearman & Sterling. One of five semifinalists, Snow withdrew his name on Friday. “The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was probably not the right fit for me,” Snow said.

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