Austin, Texas. (Credit: RoschetzkyProductions/Shutterstock.com)
Sedgwick has quietly closed its office in Austin, Texas, an outpost that housed three lawyers and a paralegal at the start of the year.
The closing in Austin follows a pattern at San Francisco-based Sedgwick in recent months. Last summer, the firm closed an office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while also eliminating another office in Houston.
Sedgwick’s Dallas office dramatically downsized in January as 23 lawyers decamped to join Drinker Biddle & Reath in the city. Michael Tanenbaum, a former chairman of the firm from 2007 to 2015, formed mass tort litigation boutique Tanenbaum Keale that same month after taking a team of roughly 30 Sedgwick lawyers and staffers in New Jersey.
Those moves have been followed by a slew of other departures from California to Washington, D.C., which led The American Lawyer to report last month that Sedgwick had watched roughly 20 percent of its gross revenue walk out the door this year.
In response to that report, Sedgwick chair Michael Healy said the firm shed some staff members to “right size the firm” and “better compete in the market.” Healy did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his firm’s decision to close up shop in Austin and Houston.
A source familiar with the situation said the firm did not want to support an office with so few attorneys.
Sedgwick has experienced about a 17 decline in its head count in 2017. Sedgwick’s earnings have fallen 18 percent since 2013, when the firm recorded $208.5 million in gross revenue. Last year, that number was $170.5 million at Sedgwick, putting the firm at No. 157 in The American Lawyer’s annual Am Law Second Hundred rankings.
The Austin office’s closure marks an end to a Lone Star State expansion effort that began in June 2006, when Sedgwick hired media and litigation lawyer Laura Lee Prather, as noted by Texas Lawyer. Sedgwick’s Houston office opened less than a year later, with the hiring of four lawyers.
At the time, the firm said its two new Texas offices were in-line with its strategic goal to provide broader geographic coverage for its insurance practice clients.
Among the three lawyers to leave Sedgwick’s Austin office in recent weeks are insurance litigator Michael Klein, who last month joined Dykema Gossett. Lisa Magids, an insurance litigator, is now practicing at local firm Leighton, Magids, Adkinson & Brown. And JoAnn Dalrymple, who joined Sedgwick as a partner in Austin last March, is no listed on the firm’s website.
Sedgwick’s website now lists 13 offices for the firm. The smallest of those are in Dallas and Washington, D.C., with five lawyers apiece. Sedgwick’s Seattle office, which opened in 2011, has eight lawyers.
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