‘Historic’ Midsize Firm Decides To Close Its Doors For Good

Businessman holding closed sign to viewerIt’s always sad when a law firm decides to close its doors, but it’s all the worse for the attorneys who have chosen to stay the course when a steady stream of lateral exits serves as the final nail in a firm’s coffin.

That seems to be what’s happened at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, a historic Phildelphia firm that’s been around for nearly 100 years — but soon, no longer.

Earlier this week, Schnader Harrison announced that it would be developing a plan for dissolution. Formerly ranked at No. 358 on the NLJ 500, the firm dwindled down to 109 attorneys in 2022, but its website currently lists fewer than 100 attorneys (88, to be specific).

Keith Whitson, a litigation partner at Schnader and the firm’s general counsel, offered a statement to the Legal Intelligencer on the firm’s decision to cease operations:

“We are proud of the sophisticated and important work that our accomplished litigators, transactional and estate planning attorneys have done representing our valued clients over the years. While our firm ultimately will go out of existence, the role that our talented lawyers have played in such monumental developments as the civil rights movement, the establishment of the State of Israel and the creation of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Uniform Probate Code, will have an everlasting impact on our society.”

So, what’s to become of the firm’s associates and partners while the wind-down is in progress? “There are groups that are speaking with other law firms,” Whitson told the Legal Intelligencer. “For those that are not doing that, we are trying to assist them in that process.” A knowledgeable source also explained to Above the Law that Schnader pulled all offers for incoming associates in the days leading up to the July 2023 bar exam. We’re hopeful that the firm will lend those new law school graduates a hand when it comes to career placement at other firms.

Local recruiters and lawyers mourned Schnader Harrison’s demise, referring to the firm an “historic” “Philadelphia institution,” noting that the firm’s closure will be “a loss for the Philadelphia community.”

We wish the lawyers and legal professionals at Schnader Harrison the best of luck as they seek new opportunities in the legal industry and beyond.

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 voluntary buyouts, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Our vast network of tipsters is part of what makes Above the Law thrive — we’ll never ignore you. You can email us or text us (646-820-8477). Thank you!

Schnader Harrison to Cease Operations [Legal Intelligencer]

Staci ZaretskyStaci 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 and Threads or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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