Crowell Leader Leaves Firm After Being Replaced as Chair

By Elizabeth Olson, Big Law Business

Angela B. Styles, the outgoing chair of Washington, D.C.-based Crowell & Moring, didn’t take long to clear out her desk once her colleagues voted her out of the top spot.

The phone recording at her office today said she “was no longer associated with the firm,” and her listing on the Crowell website had been removed. The recording directed callers to contact Peter Eyre, who co-chairs the firm’s government contracts practice. He did not return a call for comment.

The firm confirmed earlier this week that two years after voting to place her at the firm’s head, Styles would be replaced by Philip T. Inglima, a partner in the firm’s white collar and regulatory practice.

She had given notice of her departure in a memo, which was first published by the National Law Journal. In response, the firm said the handover would be a “seamless transition of leadership” and occur early next year, in time for the official March start of a new three-year term. No reasons for the switch were given, but her rapid departure suggests that it was not mutually agreeable.

In an email titled “Farewell,” which was published today by the National Law Journal, Styles said, “Several opportunities have arisen, and I will let you know about them shortly.”

She added that, “It has been an honor to serve on the leadership team and advance the firm’s efforts to provide premier client service and positively impact our communities. It has been a pleasure working with you, and I wish you much continued success.”

In response, the firm posted a statement Thursday, but did not respond to requests for comment, on the departure: “We are grateful to Angela for her contributions to the firm as our partner and throughout her term as chair. Crowell & Moring had its most profitable year ever in 2016, and this year promises continued success.

Inglima, the chair-elect, said in a statement that Angela made “significant improvements” to the firm and helped “grow and diversity” its brand.

Styles had been Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget prior to going into private firm practice. She is one of fewer than two dozen women leading large law firms, and the second women to head Crowell. In 2003, a predecessor, Rosemary M. Collyer left to become a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

When Styles took over Crowell’s top job in 2015, she was not a newcomer to the firm’s management. She had served two terms on the firm’s 12-person management board and had chaired the firm’s executive committee, while maintaining her government contracts practice.

Under her regime, the firm’s revenues rose by 20 percent, to $434.5 million, and profits per equity partner were up 30 percent, to $1.45 million, last year.

But like a number of other Big Law firms, Crowell has explored merging and is striving to strike the right balance between consolidating its existing client business and, at the same time, expanding its client base.

It is unclear whether it was a nod in the direction it might be taking, but Crowell continued to add to its ranks. On Wednesday, it announced it was bringing aboard Rebecca Monck Ricigliano, a former federal prosecutor, as a partner in its white collar and regulatory enforcement group. Ricigliano will focus on government investigations, independent monitorships, and trial advocacy for corporate and individual clients.

 

Contact the reporter responsible for this story: Elizabeth Olson at egolson@gmail.com.

Contact the editors responsible for this story: Casey Sullivan at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and Tom Taylor at ttaylor@bna.com.