When Loeb & Loeb LLP announced that Loretta Thompson and five others were elected partners, Thompson wasn't surprised to get congratulatory messages from law school classmates, and other friends and colleagues.
But what did catch her a little off guard were the calls and e-mails from total strangers who read about her promotion and wanted to sell the new partner a variety of services including wealth management and accounting.
"After I thought about it I concluded that is exactly what they should be doing," said Thompson, a real estate attorney who was named partner this summer. "I think it is a good business practice."
In recent weeks, many law firms in Los Angeles have elected their 2007 partner class including Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Latham & Watkins LLP, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP.
These selections were followed by a release naming the new partners and their practice areas. It's a significant milestone, because at many law firms the path to partnership is an eight-year track of more than 16,000 billable hours.
The announcements also provide solicitors of all stripes with a ready-made list of high-wage earners.
Thompson received calls or e-mails from Wachovia, JPMorgan Chase, and several boutique wealth-management and accounting companies.
Eileen Leveckis, a Wachovia spokeswoman, is not directly familiar with the practice, but said, "We are new to the area and have to be proactive about getting business. Everyone here has their own way of getting leads and generating new business."
Another new partner was pitched professional sports season ticket packages.
Others said they have not received any calls. A few even felt a little left out upon hearing that other attorneys were having their new status validated by high-end solicitations.
"I haven't received any calls," said Daniel Perry, a litigation partner at Milbank Tweed, whose promotion was announced by the firm last month. "Overall, very little has changed, including the calls I receive."
Thompson said most of the solicitations, especially those from the banks, fell on deaf ears.
"It so happens that I am married to a senior vice president at City National Bank."
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