More Yoss Defections… New Jersey?


I’ve heard of a lot of reasons why Yoss lawyers are jumping ship, but this is a new one:

Princeton, N.J.’s Wong Fleming, which last year merged into what was then the country’s largest minority-owned law firm, Adorno & Yoss, now Yoss, is now stepping out onto the national stage on its own.

The firm announced Monday that it has re-emerged as a 45-lawyer practice that will operate in 13 states and the District of Columbia. It will retain its offices in Princeton, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore, which pre-existed last April’s merger, and add new ones in Chicago, Seattle, Houston and elsewhere.

CEO Linda Wong says the new and expanded Wong Fleming is the biggest women-owned firm and the third-largest minority-owned firm in the U.S. Most of the lawyers at the rebranded firm are coming from Adorno & Yoss, which has been shedding lawyers and offices in the wake of a suspension imposed Oct. 27 on founding partner Henry “Hank” Adorno over his handling of a class action. Two days after the suspension, Adorno & Yoss’s paychecks bounced when a lawyer trying to collect a $1.5 million malpractice judgment against the firm garnished its bank accounts. Adorno resigned from the firm, now known as Yoss LLP.

It was not Yoss’s financial situation, but its inability to maintain its status as a minority-owned firm, which caused Wong Fleming to leave, says Daniel Fleming, Wong Fleming’s managing partner.

To qualify as minority-owned, more than half the equity must be held by minorities, and the departure of Adorno, who is Hispanic and owned a large portion of the firm, might have been enough to lose the designation.

“We had to leave because they told us they didn’t think they could retain the minority ownership model of the firm,” he says. Otherwise, Wong and Fleming “would have ridden out the storm.”

So it wasn’t the departure of Hank Adorno in disgrace, the bounced checks, the loss of just about everyone but Wes Parsons, the lack of voice mail(!), it was the potential problem with minority ownership status? Ok, got it.

BTW, I love this statement on the revamped Adorno & Yoss website:

Founded in 1986, Yoss LLP has been one of the fastest growing law firms in the hemisphere.

Really?  The entire hemisphere?

Ok, got it.