Epstein Becker & Green confirmed to The Am Law Daily Tuesday that it will be "significantly reducing its presence in Atlanta."
Though stopping short of saying that, as Thomson Reuters first reported, the firm’s 14-lawyer office in the city will close, Epstein Becker vice-chairman Mark Lutes said in a statement provided by a spokeswoman that "several years after it was opened, [Epstein Becker's] Atlanta office grew outside of the firm’s core areas of expertise, with a heavy concentration in real estate, and a predominantly regional client base which was out of sync with the firm’s strategic direction." The firm said in its statement that the move is part of a broader push to focus on the health care and labor and employment practices.
Lutes was more definitive in his comments to Thomson Reuters, saying that 258-lawyer Epstein Becker plans to shutter the Atlanta office by the end of the year in a bid to cut costs. Lutes told Thomson Reuters that the office—which opened in 2000—has lost money for the past several years and that some of the Atlanta-based lawyers may be able to stay on with the firm either by working at a satellite office in the area or transferring to a different location. As The American Lawyer has reported, M. Maxine Hicks—who chaired Epstein Becker’s national real estate practice and served as managing shareholder of the Atlanta office—left Epstein Becker for DLA Piper in 2011.
Epstein Becker has 10 other offices, all of which are in the United States. According to The American Lawyer‘s most recent Am Law 200 survey, the firm saw its gross revenue drop 8.1 percent, to $147.5 million, in 2012.
Meanwhile, in other office closing news, U.K. publication The Lawyer reported Tuesday that Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle has shuttered its Kuwait office following the departure of partner David Pfeiffer. The Lawyer reports that Pfeiffer—who joined Curtis from Dentons predecessor firm SNR Denton to open the Kuwait office last year—left Curtis at the beginning of May to join local associated firm Mashora Advocates & Legal Consultants. A Curtis spokesman confirmed the news, while adding that the firm will continue to have a presence in Kuwait through its association with Mashora.
Curtis—which saw its gross revenue rise 3 percent, to $170 million, in 2012, according to the most recent Am Law 200 data—now has Middle Eastern offices in Dubai, Istanbul, Kazakhstan, Oman, and Turkmenistan.