A big weekend is looming in the Howrey-Winston saga.
This week, Winston management agreed on a proposed term sheet for bringing aboard Howrey attorneys, sources close to the situation confirmed. Enough Howrey partners have indicated interest in joining for the deal to move one step closer to completion, lawyers said. Winston held a partner meeting today to discuss the terms ahead of a partnership vote, which was expected to begin as early as today and possibly last through the weekend.
Former Howrey lawyers say that Winston is likely to get most of the Houston office and parts of the antitrust group in D.C. The exact fate of the California offices remains more vague, but a former Howrey lawyer in California said prospective tenants have toured the San Francisco office and that there’s been interest in the Palo Alto office as well.
The next few days appear to be crucial for the deal. One issue that’s in play is the matter of the prestigious Howrey name. A former Howrey lawyer in California said Winston might pay $2 million or more for the Howrey moniker. The goal had been to name the new firm Winston Howrey, the lawyer said.
It’s not clear how soon the name issue will be resolved or whether it’s still part of the deal. One former Howrey partner said that in certain jurisdictions, a law firm may only use the business name of someone who’s deceased (Jack Howrey in this case) if he is a legacy partner of the firm, or his firm was acquired via a formal merger.
“I know it had been discussed that the Howrey name would be used going forward with the Winston name,” the lawyer said, adding that this was the first time he’d heard a value placed on it – and that the price tag seemed way too low. “I actually think the Howrey name is worth more like $20 million in terms of client recognition and good will.”
Howrey is also trying to capitalize on its in-house team of economic analysts who study the viability of IP, antitrust and complext litigation cases. The firm’s management has tried to sell the CapAnalysis capability for about $6 million, another former Howrey lawyer said.