What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

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What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:14 pm

Susman Godfrey's named partner and founder, Stephen Susman, sadly passed away last week from COVID-19 (and after suffering from a terrible bike accident a few months earlier).

How does a firm like this move forward? For example, as David Boies has pulled back from BSF, the firm has basically imploded (not that that was the only reason or even a predominant reason, but there is a correlation). How do people see SG's future? Has the firm been more successful in transitioning away business from its named partner?

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:28 pm

Anon because I have worked or do work at SG. The answer to a question like this depends on the firm. So I can’t speak to BSF or lit boutiques generally.

Steve will be missed as a colleague. If you knew him, you’d know why. Moving forward from a personal standpoint will be personally difficult, like when you have a loss in a family or close circle.

But I would not expect changes from a business standpoint. There’s a recent Lawdragon article and other threads discussing how the firm has a long list of rainmakers and that Steve hadn’t been among SG’s top fee generators for years. That transition coincided with several years in a row that the firm publicly reported record revenues and profits. Does SG wish Steve were still around? Absolutely. Will the firm bearing his name wither? Don’t count on it.

hdr

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by hdr » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 pm

The firm will surely fall apart within a couple years. As we all know, Williams & Connolly imploded after Edward Bennett Williams died in 1988.

Pennoyer v. Meh

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by Pennoyer v. Meh » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:20 pm

hdr wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 pm
The firm will surely fall apart within a couple years. As we all know, Williams & Connolly imploded after Edward Bennett Williams died in 1988.
It did become a radically different place, though--less the type of firm Williams had envisioned. (Admittedly, this was accelerated moreso after Paul Connolly died, but it's the same type of point.)

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:01 pm

Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:20 pm
hdr wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 pm
The firm will surely fall apart within a couple years. As we all know, Williams & Connolly imploded after Edward Bennett Williams died in 1988.
It did become a radically different place, though--less the type of firm Williams had envisioned. (Admittedly, this was accelerated moreso after Paul Connolly died, but it's the same type of point.)
Getting off-topic but curious to hear more about this.

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by ghostoftraynor » Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:42 pm

Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:20 pm
hdr wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 pm
The firm will surely fall apart within a couple years. As we all know, Williams & Connolly imploded after Edward Bennett Williams died in 1988.
It did become a radically different place, though--less the type of firm Williams had envisioned. (Admittedly, this was accelerated moreso after Paul Connolly died, but it's the same type of point.)
Care to elaborate on what envisioned?

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by Pennoyer v. Meh » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:11 am

ghostoftraynor wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:42 pm
Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:20 pm
hdr wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 pm
The firm will surely fall apart within a couple years. As we all know, Williams & Connolly imploded after Edward Bennett Williams died in 1988.
It did become a radically different place, though--less the type of firm Williams had envisioned. (Admittedly, this was accelerated moreso after Paul Connolly died, but it's the same type of point.)
Care to elaborate on what envisioned?
Williams had started Williams & Connolly with a handful of hotshot lawyers. Now, he complained, his firm was getting so big that all the lawyers in the office couldn't even be sure of knowing one another.

All Williams had ever wanted to do was try cases, but Williams & Connolly had branched off into all kinds of corporate representations. The firm was too big, too spread out, too corporate and bureaucratic. He looked up from his martini and stared deep into Miller's eyes.

"Don't ever do it," he said again. "Don't get big."
https://www.washingtonian.com/2001/05/0 ... ct-lawyer/

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:40 am

Law firms have the same problem as oak trees - the only way for them to live, year-on-year, is to grow constantly.

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by ExpOriental » Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:38 pm

[/quote]
Williams had started Williams & Connolly with a handful of hotshot lawyers. Now, he complained, his firm was getting so big that all the lawyers in the office couldn't even be sure of knowing one another.

All Williams had ever wanted to do was try cases, but Williams & Connolly had branched off into all kinds of corporate representations. The firm was too big, too spread out, too corporate and bureaucratic. He looked up from his martini and stared deep into Miller's eyes.

"Don't ever do it," he said again. "Don't get big."
https://www.washingtonian.com/2001/05/0 ... ct-lawyer/
[/quote]

lmao I'm sure that was just agony for him. And all he had to dry his tears were the millions of dollars he undoubtedly took in through expansion.

The forced drama in that bolded line is one of the more absurd things I've read. Sounds like one of those "good problems," as Marlo Stanfield would say.

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by Sackboy » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:45 pm

ExpOriental wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:38 pm

lmao I'm sure that was just agony for him. And all he had to dry his tears were the millions of dollars he undoubtedly took in through expansion.

The forced drama in that bolded line is one of the more absurd things I've read. Sounds like one of those "good problems," as Marlo Stanfield would say.
Different people prioritize different things at different points in their life. It's not remotely uncommon for very successful business folk to have deep, haunting regrets about pursuing certain lines of business or letting their company get away from them, despite becoming fantastically rich off all of it. I don't know how some people seemingly fail to comprehend that.

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by ExpOriental » Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:25 am

Sackboy wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:45 pm
ExpOriental wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:38 pm

lmao I'm sure that was just agony for him. And all he had to dry his tears were the millions of dollars he undoubtedly took in through expansion.

The forced drama in that bolded line is one of the more absurd things I've read. Sounds like one of those "good problems," as Marlo Stanfield would say.
Different people prioritize different things at different points in their life. It's not remotely uncommon for very successful business folk to have deep, haunting regrets about pursuing certain lines of business or letting their company get away from them, despite becoming fantastically rich off all of it. I don't know how some people seemingly fail to comprehend that.
I was mostly kidding, but the assertion that it was "deeply haunting" for him is kind of laughable.

Like, even if that's correct, it would take a stunning lack of perspective to be "deeply haunted" by that.

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by replevin123 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:55 am

ExpOriental wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:25 am
Sackboy wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:45 pm
ExpOriental wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:38 pm

lmao I'm sure that was just agony for him. And all he had to dry his tears were the millions of dollars he undoubtedly took in through expansion.

The forced drama in that bolded line is one of the more absurd things I've read. Sounds like one of those "good problems," as Marlo Stanfield would say.
Different people prioritize different things at different points in their life. It's not remotely uncommon for very successful business folk to have deep, haunting regrets about pursuing certain lines of business or letting their company get away from them, despite becoming fantastically rich off all of it. I don't know how some people seemingly fail to comprehend that.
I was mostly kidding, but the assertion that it was "deeply haunting" for him is kind of laughable.

Like, even if that's correct, it would take a stunning lack of perspective to be "deeply haunted" by that.
Your (professional) life-long dream to create something, build something--a different kind of law firm, with different priorities and focus. A vision for the future of the profession or the best way to practice. Achievements, love, creation, betrayal, selling-out, lying to oneself, sacrifice, etc. These are indeed things that can haunt and one can be haunted by. An astonishingly small number of people know what it is actually like to build out one's dream over a lifetime, to make the dream reality. In this light, it's not hard to see how other things of this world might easily pale in comparison. I don't think it's a lack of perspective, if anything it is a broader perspective than most have. Material wealth and physical suffering, absent connection to some other ideal or purpose or meaning, are nothing. Everyone dies and everything fades away. Everything is dust. What's left are deliberate decisions about how to live a life, relate to others, build and design and order and structure firms, society, organizations, and government to contribute what one may to human flourishing.

nixy

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by nixy » Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:52 am

Um. Wow.

Leaving aside the metaphysical concerns, the original question was “what happens to Susman now” in the context of “Boies seems to be imploding as Boies pulls back.” With that in mind, even if Williams was emotionally devastated by the powerhouse that his firm became, W&C is an example of how a firm survives its founders and doesn’t have to implode.

(If he was truly haunted by what the firm had become, he could have, you know, left it.)

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Re: What's next for a firm like Susman Godfrey

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:13 am

nixy wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:52 am
(If he was truly haunted by what the firm had become, he could have, you know, left it.)
Like when Peter Gabriel left Genesis :cry:

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