Testa Hurwitz partners vote to dissolve firm

The 30-year-old Boston law firm, once a dominant force in venture capital and private equity, has decided to fold up shop following a string of partner defections.

Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP, a Boston law firm that for decades dominated the private equity legal services market, will cease business, the partners announced today.

The decision follows last month’s defections of partners Daniel Finkelman, Robin Painter, David Tegeler, Malcolm Nicholls, Stephen Mears, Mary Kuusisto and Arnold May to rival firm Proskauer Rose. All of these partners were members of Testa Hurwitz’s vaunted private equity group. Earlier, partner and private equity specialist Thomas Beaudoin left to join Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr.

Since founding partner Richard Testa died in 2002, Testa Hurwitz has lost a quarter of its partners. The firm was established in 1973 and gained early traction in technology and venture capital through work done with General Georges Doriot’s American Research & Development investment corporation.

In a statement, Testa Hurwitz managing partner George Davitt said: “A law firm such as ours, although prominent, profitable and filled with talented lawyers is – like any professional services organization – knit of a fabric that, if stretched too thin, can unravel”.

The statement noted that Testa Hurwitz had explored potential mergers with other firms, but “many partners ultimately decided that they preferred other opportunities”.

The decision to disband was finalised at a partner meeting this morning.

The announcement noted that employees have received notice of 60 days of continued employment with the firm; accounts receivable will be collected; vendors will be paid; and that the firm has no outstanding debt.

Testa is not the first private equity specialist to call it quits – in 2003, San Francisco law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison closed its doors after seeing its business dwindle amid the technology meltdown.