From today’s Chicago Tribune Business Section: Seven partners have left Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell (catchy name, eh?) to create a new firm representing insurance companies in litigation. The reason? Pressure to increase hourly rates in this practice area by as much as 50%.
Locke Lord etc., etc. and so forth was formed by the merger of Locke Liddell and Lord Bissell in October 2007. Interesting quote from Jerry Clements, reported to be chair of the merged firm (though there is no such name listed on the firm’s website): "Any time you do a combination as significant as the one we did, you’re unfortunately going to lose some people who don’t fit anymore." She added that some practices are "suffering from rate pressures."
My point is not to comment on the firm’s business decisions, because clearly there are winners and losers in mergers of this sort. Rather, the point is simply to note the acknowledgment that "pressure" on rates is a fact of life in firms like Locke Lord that aspire to compete in the top echelon. Even in today’s difficult economic times, that rate pressure exists.