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Law Practice

Jun. 7, 2023

After turmoil, firm reconstitues as Daugherty Lordan LLP

The new leadership plans to proceed more quietly and focus on growing client relationships, a firm spokesperson said.

This time there was no splashy media campaign.

"We are pleased to announce that our new firm name is Daugherty Lordan LLP. Name partners Melissa Daugherty and Joe Lordan are long time colleagues who have agreed to represent our firm into the future," read a statement released early Wednesday morning.

That was it. No partner interviews. No news release boasting about their practices or their marquee clients.

Well, that was not entirely it. In a nod to the elephant in the room, the announcement added two more sentences: "Daugherty Lordan is minority owned, consisting of 60% female attorneys. We thank our friends and colleagues for all of their support."

The first sentence was clearly an effort to counter the upheaval that began last weekend after the management at their former firm, Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP, released dozens of emails showing that two men who led more than 120 attorneys out of Lewis Brisbois had made racist and misogynistic comments dating back to at least 2008.

The attorneys at the new firm quickly ousted their leaders and reconstituted under the new name. Daugherty Lordan LLP has six equity partners; three are women, one is an Asian man and two are white men.

The second sentence was clearly an olive branch to attorneys and clients who left Lewis Brisbois with them, and now find themselves buffeted by the turmoil. There have been reports that some of the attorneys had sought to return to Lewis Brisbois but a spokesman for Daugherty Lordan said that everyone remains at the new firm.

The subdued approach was a stark departure from when the attorneys walked out of Lewis Brisbois on May 2. John Barber and Jeffrey Ranen boasted in interviews to the legal and business press that all of their clients were following them to the new firm and suggested more lawyers from Lewis Brisbois would join them soon.

Most of the lawyers specialize in labor and employment law but Barber and Ranen said they had plans for a full-service firm that mirrored Lewis Brisbois, which had 1,700 attorneys in 55 offices nationwide.

The new firm would like to grow and expand practice areas but made no grand promises. The new leadership plans to proceed more quietly and focus on growing client relationships, a firm spokesman said.


David Houston

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