The Los Angeles office of Shea & Gould, one of the nation’s biggest and most prestigious law firms, was rocked Monday by the disclosure that 18 of its lawyers will leave to join a fast-growing competitor.
Sources close to Shea & Gould said the firm is considering shutting its 3 1/2-year-old Los Angeles office as a result of the defections. The New York-based firm currently has 70 lawyers here.
The departing lawyers, including eight partners and 10 associates, are leaving Shea & Gould by the end of March to open a Los Angeles office for Myerson & Kuhn. Founded only 14 months ago, Myerson & Kuhn has grown to a firm of more than 150 lawyers with headquarters in New York and additional offices in Philadelphia, Washington and Dallas.
Both firms have ties to baseball history. One of Myerson & Kuhn’s co-founders, Bowie Kuhn, is a former commissioner of major league baseball. The name of one of Shea & Gould’s founders, William A. Shea, is on the New York Mets stadium in Queens.
Heading the group leaving the Shea & Gould office are senior partners Alan U. Schwartz, Leon M. Cooper and Robert H. London, a former Los Angeles Superior Court judge. Schwartz said the defections stemmed from disagreements over compensation and “on how the office should be run.”
Spokesmen for Shea & Gould could not be reached for comment.
Shea & Gould entered the Los Angeles market in mid-1985 by acquiring the Century City firm of Pacht, Ross, Warne, Bernhard & Sears.
The firm’s arrival here dovetailed with a growing influx of New York law firms to the area.