Nancy Lasersohn, Dechert’s chief marketing officer, pauses at a Lucite magazine rack in the firm’s Philadelphia offices and notices that something is amiss. “Oh,” she says, grabbing a fistful of glossy brochures touting the firm’s state tax practice, “I guess we should get rid of these.”

Less than a day has passed since CEO and Chairman Barton Winokur sent an e-mail to the firm’s 1,007 lawyers announcing that the state tax practice — with Dechert’s blessing — was moving to Reed Smith. Though the three-partner group had posted $10 million in revenues (and turned a tidy profit) the year before, Dechert had declined to make it a national practice. “For a variety of reasons, the development of a nationwide state tax practice is not a strategic priority for Dechert,” Winokur wrote in his e-mail.

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