On the East Coast, Morgan Lewis is highly renowned for its business and finance department, but it is a full service firm that prides itself on being able to handle any and all legal matters internally. Brobeck, on the other hand, was a firm that focused the majority of its work on litigation, with less than a quarter of its practice dedicated to business and finance. Morgan Lewis's West Coast practice will most likely continue along Brobeck's path and remain heavy in the litigation practice in the new offices, while strengthening the litigation practice of the Los Angeles office.
In adding to their West Coast practice, Morgan Lewis has effectively increased its profile with a ton of media exposure due to its positive involvement with picking up the pieces of what was once one of the most highly-reputed firms in the country. Additionally, it does so without having gone through a merger, and therefore is only absorbing the business, and not the crippling debts, of Brobeck. It is unlikely that the business problems that led to Brobeck's decreasing profits per partner of almost $500,000 over the last two years of its existence will follow these attorneys to Morgan Lewis, but with many of the rainmaker Brobeck partners leaving before the ship went down, what Morgan Lewis is left with may not be the most highly desirable pieces of the Brobeck dynasty. Still, the business these partners do bring to a new, more stable environment will most likely provide a better foundation than the new economy clients with which Brobeck was able to inflate its profits.
This sudden and drastic growth's effect on the stability of Morgan Lewis is going to be very interesting to watch. In the mid 90's, the firm tried expansion on the West Coast and, after subsequently deciding that this was a mistake, had to pare down their Los Angeles numbers considerably. Again, in 2001, layoffs were necessary. However, with 60 new partners most likely bringing some of the client base from Brobeck, expansion will probably prove much less risky this time around. How these new California attorneys adjust to working under the rule of an old school East Coast firm is probably going to be the only significant roadblock in the path to success. Considering that Morgan Lewis gains high marks, even on the East Coast, for collegiality and is becoming more and more modern, this, too, might just be an initial blip on the radar. All in all, this firm's commitment to growth could one day push it to the top of the American legal market.