By Elizabeth Olson, Big Law Business
With few women leading American law firms, the early departure of any one of them draws attention.
That’s the case with Angela B. Styles, who took the helm of Crowell & Moring LLP in 2015 and will vacate the position of chair in February 2018, the firm has confirmed. Styles, who specializes in government contracts, will be replaced by Philip T. Inglima, a partner in the Washington, D.C.-based firm’s white collar and regulatory group.
The change in leadership resulted from a firm election that takes place every three years. It occurred in September, but no announcement of the change was made then. Philip McGowan, the firm spokesman, confirmed on Monday that the firm “held that election recently and our partners elected Philip Inglima as chair-elect.”
The firm declined requests for interviews about the leadership shake-up or to give more detail on an internal memorandum indicating that Styles and Inglima would “work together to ensure a seamless transition of leadership over the next six months” that was published in the National Law Journal on Friday.
Styles came to the Washington, D.C.-based firm in 2007 after a stint at the law firm, Miller & Chevalier. She had also served as Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget, and is one of some 16 female managing partners or co-managing partners at the major American law firms, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Women Lawyers.
There was no indication of the differences that may have prompted the ouster of Styles from the top spot, where she was the second woman to hold the position. The first was Rosemary M. Collyer, who left the firm in 2003 to become a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Crowell & Moring, founded nearly four decades ago when 53 lawyers split off from Jones Day, said its performance ticked upwards last year with overall revenues up 20 percent to $434.5 million, and profits per equity partner up 30 percent, to $1.45 million. It has more than 440 attorneys.
Like most other firms, it has been navigating a changing legal landscape. It has explored merging, at least with Herrick Feinstein, but Crowell’s talks with the New York firm did not wind up with a combination or acquisition.
The firm also has been active in expanding its practice groups through the addition of lateral partners, which included the addition of Paul M. Rosen, formerly chief of staff for the ex-Homeland Security Department chief Jeh Johnson, to the firm’s white collar and regulatory practice last May.
The firm, according to a Forbes interview Styles gave last February, has a 12-person management board elected by the partners. Its members serve three-year terms, with a maximum of two terms followed by a year off.
A member of the firm’s management board and chair of the firm’s executive committee, Inglima is a partner and, like Styles, was a lateral transfer to Crowell & Moring. He joined the firm in 2005. It is unclear whether Inglima’s ascension presages a change in direction for the firm which, like many major firms, is trying to strike a balance between keeping existing business matters in a more cost-conscious business environment yet at the same time expand its base to attract new clients.
At the time of her promotion, Styles, who had served two terms on the firm’s management board and chair of the firm’s executive committee, said she wanted to maintain an active government contracts practice as well as maintaining and enhancing the firm’s litigation and trial capabilities and regulatory prominence, focusing especially on the healthcare, energy, privacy and cybersecurity sectors.
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