Portland law firm Bullivant Houser Bailey has had its share of trouble
recently with lawyers leaving—losing nearly two dozen this year, and 38
Now, Bullivant can’t meet its payments to those cashing out
their shares in the firm. A confidential Oct. 18 letter
obtained by WW
says the firm owes former shareholders $1.6 million. Starting in 2012,
the letter says, the firm will stretch out payments over 10 years, not
the typical five.
Managing shareholder Beth Skillern says Bullivant
usually has one or two retirements a year. “When you have 30
shareholders leave, it creates a bigger financial obligation,” she says.
Bullivant has about 60 lawyers now.
“It didn’t shock me,” says Dan Lindhal, a former partner who left in 2008. “I know people have noticed that the firm has lost a lot of people.”
The letter says in part:
Notwithstanding the many departures, we are confident that the firm and
its remaining 22 capital shareholders will not only survive, but thrive.
To do so, though, We must manage the significant debt the firm was left
with, including the obligation to repurchase your stock.WW reported in April
that Bullivant closed its Sacramento office and that its Las Vegas office was down to two lawyers “in a space that had been built for about 30 attorneys.”
The firm also has offices in Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver, Wash. According to its website, its Portland office is one of the largest in Oregon.