Dallas-based law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist will close its doors by the end of the month in the wake of a criminal probe into its illegal tax shelter advice, according to an annoucement today from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. The firm, which once had more than 600 lawyers nationwide, has already shuttered several offices and lost more than two-thirds of its headcount as a result of the scandal.
Jenkens' announcement that it will disband comes as a part of a non-prosecution agreement the firm entered into with federal prosecutors in Manhattan over its involvement in illegal tax shelters, our sister publication the New York Law Journal reports.
The firm's Chicago-based tax shelter practice group pumped out hundreds of opinion letters from 1998 to 2003 in support of tax shelters the Internal Revenue Service later found to be illegal.
As part of the deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office, the firm agreed to pay a $76 million civil penalty to the IRS and also pledged continued cooperation with the investigation. The firm agreed to pay $75 million in 2004 to settle civil claims from clients concerning the legal opinions.
Earlier this week a group of intellectual property lawyers from the firm's Chicago office decamped in order to open an office in the Windy City for Nixon Peabody. Richmond, Va.-based Hunton & Williams is reported to be in talks to take on many of the firm's Dallas-based attorneys. The firm closed shop in DC late last year.