Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick loses 1/3 of its attorneys

This is sad news. HLGR’s noted big-tobacco litigator Sharon Rudnick was a gift to the UO faculty union – her bargaining stunts must have increased membership by 10%:

And I’m guessing few of UO’s GTF’s will soon forget negotiating sick-leave policies with HLGR’s zoning law expert Jeff Matthews.

How did HLGR end up with the bulk of UO’s legal business? I don’t know, but my speculation is that it had a lot to do with former UO President Dave Frohnmayer, who famously used his 2009-10 retirement sabbatical to restart his legal career at HLGR (Audits Division report here) just before the Oregon Legislature passed SB 242, which removed responsibility for state universities legal matters from the Oregon DOJ and let UO contract out the work.

In 2011, in response to SB 242, UO GC Randy Geller put out an RFP for outside legal help. Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick responded with this proposal, which emphasized the fact that Frohnmayer was now working for them:

They got the job.

UO paid out as much as ~$1M in billable hours to HLGR in at least one year. Or that’s my guess, Geller had that information redacted from the annual financial transparency expenditure reports UO is required to file with the state. (And a few years later HLGR hired Geller as “of counsel”, after his curiously timed retirement from UO.)

Harrang pulled in another ~$1M in billable hours from state taxpayers over their defense of Mark Long – who had got mixed up in the original Kitzhaber / Cylvia Hayes scandal. The Oregonian’s Steve Duin has the story here:

In early 2010, Long was the interim director at the state’s Department of Energy. That’s when the agency asked the Seattle-based winner of a $200,000 federal stimulus contract to hand a $60,000 piece of the action to the Oregon company co-owned byCylvia Hayes, John Kitzhaber’s companion.

When then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski asked Kroger to investigate the arrangement, Long declined to be interviewed. Two other Energy employees, however, told Sean Riddell, the deputy AG leading the investigation, that Long called attention to Hayes’ relationship with Kitzhaber, who was poised to run for governor, and ordered one of them to “fix it.”

No one should be surprised that Long is sensitive to issues of power and influence.

He is the son of Stan Long, a long-time friend and associate of former AG Dave Frohnmayer, and a founding partner of the law firm Harrang Long Gary Rudnick.

Harrang Long is rather well-connected, especially when it comes to Oregon’s Department of Justice.

Not only is Frohnmayer in the fold, but the firm’s roster includes two former Solicitor Generals, Bill Gary and Jim Mountain, and Pete Shepherd, DOJ’s second-in-command from 2001-2009.

They know how Justice works. Or how it long has.

But it seems like the good times are fading for HLGR. I’ll go out on a limb and predict the UO administration will never, ever, ever again hire HLGR to do union bargaining. And UO is increasingly turning to other law firms for work such as counter-suing survivors of alleged basketball team gang rapes (Miller Nash) and IP disputes such as the one in the UO Ed School over DIBELS (Betts, Paterson & Mines).

And when HLGR notes that one of its specialties is expertise with public records law, then gets hired by the local school board to keep some records secret, and then, after billing $26K, mistakenly emails them all to a reporter from the local newspaper, well, I can see how that might cost them a client or two.

Then there’s the PERS case. Bill Gary and Sharon Rudnick took the lead on the brief, Gary argued it, and then they lost – after who knows how many lucrative billable hours.

So with bread-and-butter work like defending big-tobacco companies from litigious cancer victims dying out, and billable hours for UO and public agencies looking less and less reliable, it’s probably no surprise that HLGR has lost 1/3 of its attorneys over the past 5 years:

2010: 15 partners, 12 associates, 4 of counsel = 31

2015: 10 partners, 5 associates, 5 of counsel = 20

Recent losses include 2 of the “Best Lawyers in America”, whatever that means:

as well as

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13 Responses to Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick loses 1/3 of its attorneys

  1. Anonymous2 says:

    Dave Frohnmayer billed approximately 8 hours for Harrang Long during his entire sabbatical period. This has been pointed out to you and yet you still continue to make the false claim even after the man passed away. There was never anything “famous” about Dave’s sabbatical besides your false accusation.

    Your vague implication of a conflict of interest/wrongdoing is nonsensical. After he left the presidency, Dave had no control over external hiring decisions by the GC’s office. To the extent the UO hired HLGR because of Dave, it was because they saw Dave as a value add, not because they were somehow beholden to him.

    You’re a jerk.

    • get real says:

      What is nonsensical is that you expect anyone to take your rant seriously while signing it “Anonymous2”. How ’bout a name?

      • get real2 says:

        OK. Does this work?

        What about the substance of the above post doesn’t stand on its own merit?

        • get real says:

          Nope. Doesn’t work.

        • moi says:

          What doesn’t stand on its own merit? Every time he says “I’m guessing”, “I don’t know, but my speculation is”, “or that’s my guess”, “I’ll go out on a limb and predict”, etc. is factually wrong and does not stand on its own merit.

          • uomatters says:

            Thanks, “moi”. You are obviously well informed about HLGR. Would this post be more accurate if I added something about “rats deserting a sinking ship”, or would that be a slur on the many lawyers who have left HLGR, for what may well have been admirable reasons. Any suggestions on this point would be appreciated, particularly if you can suggest some names and facts.

          • get real2 says:

            “What doesn’t stand on its own merit? Every time he says “I’m guessing”, “I don’t know, but my speculation is”, “or that’s my guess”, “I’ll go out on a limb and predict”, etc. is factually wrong and does not stand on its own merit.”

            Yep. UOM always hides behind speculation and innuendo, but his words create the same false perceptions as outright assertions.

  2. moi says:

    You are so off base as to why the lawyers left it is laughable. All I can suggest is you wait about 6 months and then all will become clear to you. It is hardly a “sinking ship”. And I am not a member of that firm.

  3. Mark Alfano says:

    Bless their dear hearts.

  4. Licensed in Oregon says:

    Ten years ago they had about 40 attorneys, and recently there has been a lot more associate churn than your numbers reveal. Maybe they’ll pick up some Koch money for the upcoming right to work fight?

  5. Coincendentally, says:

    I’ve seen Sharon on campus a few times in the last month. I thought we cut them off?

  6. Dave Smith says:

    If you look at any mid-size law firm over the same period you’d probably see similar results–law firms went on a hiring freeze over the recession and just recently started hiring again. Additionally, law firm websites are often not up to date on attorney profiles and many law firms don’t list all their Junior Associates on their website.