Patton Boggs hires financial advisors

March 5, 2014

Washington law and lobby firm Patton Boggs has hired financial advisors including Zolfo Cooper, a firm experienced in helping firms get their business on stronger footing.

The news, reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal, comes on the heels of several months of turmoil at the venerable D.C. firm, which for the last decade has brought in the most revenue out of any other lobby shop in town.

Since last year, Patton Boggs has done two rounds of layoffs and lost about 100 attorneys. It announced plans to close its once-profitable Newark office and engaged in merger talks with at least three other law firms. Revenue at the firm has fallen 18 percent since 2011, from $340 million to $279 million, and the firm’s partners last year approved a restructuring plan that included changing the way the firm splits profits among its partners.

The firm plans to shrink its equity partnership by almost 30 percent within a year’s time, going from 98 equity partners as of November 2013 to about 70 by the end of 2014.

Merger discussions with Locke Lord, a Texas- based law firm, were called off in December, and Patton Boggs is now talking to Cleveland-based Squire Sanders about a potential combination.

A firm spokesman declined to elaborate on what the financial advisers were hired to do, but managing partner Ed Newberry told the Journal that they would help the firm review its capital structure and changes to its partner pay system.

Newberry did not return a request for comment.

Catherine Ho covers law and lobbying for the Capital Business section of The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.
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