SAN FRANCISCO — Thelen energy partner Ellen Bastier and some of her colleagues may be headed to Reed Smith.
Reed Smith equity partners are voting this week on whether to bring Bastier, a San Francisco partner, on board, a Reed Smith partner confirmed Thursday. A handful of other Thelen lawyers would come with her, that partner said.
All of Reed Smith’s 325 equity partners vote on lateral equity partner hires, the partner said. The vote started Tuesday and was to end today.
Bastier, one of Thelen’s rainmakers, is known for clients such as Vestas Wind Co. Recruiters and people formerly with Thelen recently estimated her book at various levels above $5 million.
Reed Smith had no comment about the vote or Bastier’s potential addition to its ranks, a firm spokeswoman said. Bastier did not return a voicemail Thursday afternoon.
This has been a difficult year for Thelen, which has seen more than 100 attorney departures and, in recent months, hopes of a merger dashed. The firm’s lawyer head count now stands at 401, according to Thelen’s Web site.
As of mid-October, Nixon Peabody; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman; and Alston & Bird were said to be interested in pieces of Thelen.
Nixon Peabody is talking to Thelen labor and employment lawyers in San Francisco, among others, a source familiar with those talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Thursday. The potential matches do not include construction lawyers, though, that source said, noting that there would be too many conflicts with Nixon’s insurance coverage practice.
Nixon is not interested in Thelen’s San Francisco lease, the person added, saying it would be “too much overhead,” especially in the current economic environment.
Other firms rumored to be in the mix are Howrey and Seyfarth Shaw, according to sources outside of Thelen.
A Thelen spokesman declined to comment Thursday.
The spotlight on Thelen has grown brighter in recent weeks since the Heller Ehrman partnership voted to dissolve in late September.
A stream of partner departures at Heller had triggered a contract clause with the firm’s suppliers of credit — Bank of America and Citibank — leading them to step in and force the firm to pay up.
The departures at Thelen of two groups, announced five days apart in late August, were particularly troubling, recruiters, consultants and attorneys have said. The first was that of Mark Weitzel and three others to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in San Francisco, which was followed by the departure of Jeffrey Steiner and seven other partners to DLA Piper in New York.