Shea & Gould, an old-line New York-based law firm, confirmed Tuesday that it is shutting its Los Angeles branch office after 3 1/2 years because of dissension over the way profits were divided with the home office in New York.
“Some of our partners were very unhappy,” said Lessing E. Gold, managing partner of Shea & Gould in Los Angeles. “The executive board (in New York) decided they should have a greater share of the profits.”
Of the 70 lawyers in the Los Angeles branch of New York-based Shea & Gould, 18 have already said they plan to leave the firm by the end of this month to open a Los Angeles office for Myerson & Kuhn.
The remaining 52 lawyers will have four months to consider their options while the Los Angeles office of Shea & Gould winds down its affairs, Gold said.
“We really haven’t decided whether we are going to make associations” with other firms, said Gold. “We are just going to phase out and consider the options.”
A last-ditch effort to work out the dispute failed last month when Gold and six other Los Angeles partners met with two executive committee members from New York. The lawyers from Los Angeles told their New York colleagues that they were unhappy they were not represented on the firm’s executive committee and dissatisfied with the way profits were distributed.
Shea & Gould, which has a total of 380 lawyers, opened its Los Angeles office by acquiring the Los Angeles firm of Pacht, Ross, Warne, Bernhardt & Sears.