Schiff Hardin’s Washington litigation head Jeffrey Jacobovitz is heading to the much smaller McCarthy, Sweeney & Harkaway on Friday. In a tough economy, Jacobovitz says there is a clear benefit to joining a small shop: “There’s a market out there for smaller cases and smaller companies that cannot afford the big firm in this economy.”
McCarthy, Sweeney has just 11 lawyers and one Washington office. Schiff Hardin, by comparison, houses more than 400 lawyers in seven offices across the country. Jacobovitz, who practiced at Schiff for three-and-a-half years, says at his new firm, he is “hoping to avoid conflict situations on cases and to have better control over my hourly rate.”
It’s becoming an increasingly common sentiment as the economy grows bleaker. In December, White & Case counsel Raymond Sullivan Jr. left the firm to become a partner at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz because he said the move would offer his clients “a friendlier rate structure.” And legal recruiters and consultants agree that some smaller and regional firms have been able to capitalize on the tough market by attracting talent that wouldn’t otherwise consider joining them and by attracting clients seeking lower rates.
Another Schiff Hardin partner, Garry Grossman, joined McCarthy, Sweeney last year, and Jacobovitz says Grossman helped convince him to make the move. Jacobovitz, who focuses on white-collar defense work, civil litigation, and antitrust matters, says all of his clients are coming with him. He has represented a number of high-profile clients in the past, including congressional aide John Albaugh, who pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge in connection with the Jack Abramoff scandal.