Sometimes, in order to remain successful, even the most successful Biglaw firms must do something that seems completely out of character — like close an office. That’s exactly what’s happening over at Davis Polk & Wardwell, where the top 20 Am Law firm is slated to close its office in Paris, France, by the end of the year.
Opened in 1962, the office was DPW’s first international outpost, and now it will be shuttered after 60 years. On September 16, managing partner Neil Barr notified the firm of the closure by email. The American Lawyer has some relevant details from Barr’s firmwide memo:
“Earlier this year, the firm undertook a strategic review of our French law practice,” Barr wrote. “After extensive discussions and analysis, the firm has made the difficult decision to end our French law practice, and thus close the Paris office. This is all effective December 31, 2022.
“In no way is this a reflection of the talent of our colleagues in Paris,” he continued. “They are exceptionally skilled and deeply committed to the firm and our clients. We are working with each of them on outplacement and other support services.”
As a reminder, Davis Polk brought home $1,970,000,000 gross revenue in 2021 and offered associates bonuses and salary increases hand over fist last year. Sources now claim that profitability was an issue at the office thanks to those high pay rates (after rounds of salary wars that were fueled, in part, by the firm) and the ultra-competitiveness of the Paris M&A deal market.
The compensation leader’s Parisian office has just a handful of lawyers, including one partner, and per the American Lawyer, all five will be transitioning to other legal roles, retirement, or sabbatical. We wish them all the best in their new pursuits.
If your firm or organization is closing its doors or reducing the ranks of its lawyers or staff, whether through open layoffs, stealth layoffs, or buyouts, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Our vast network of tipsters is part of what makes Above the Law thrive. You can email us or text us (646-820-8477).
Davis Polk to Close Paris Office by End of 2022 [American Lawyer]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.