One name mentioned this year in notable law firm departures was James Sprayregen of Kirkland & Ellis, who left the partnership to join the Chicago office of Goldman Sachs.
But Crain’s Chicago Business reported earlier this year that Mr. Sprayregen was joing Goldman in a turnaround advisory capacity, not as a lawyer. The Chicago Sun Times further quoted Mr. Sprayregen at the time:
He went on to say that while he’ll always have great affection for the firm, the opportunity at Goldman “is a new challenge that I could not resist.”
Goldman is wildly successful in no small part because it hires and develops extremely talented people. Whether it entered into Mr. Sprayregen’s calculus or not, Goldman is also a place that allows lawyers to develop the business side of their skills. For Exhibit A on this, you need to look no further than CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Mr. Blankfein is also an attorney, who made the jump to the business side at Goldman years ago. (An Exhibit B: Vice Chairman Suzanne M. Nora Johnson is also a lawyer, and practiced with Simpson Thacher).
Maybe at the end of the day, when somebody leaves a law firm, it’s less about the firm and more about the person. Sort of like this…