Firm bucks rumor of shutdown

It’s not the first time that Joseph Bourgon, CEO of Southfield-based Sommers Schwartz PC, has heard rumors of his firm shutting down. And again, he says, the rumors are untrue.

“The last time was in 2007 or 2008 when there was an exodus of attorneys from the firm, some by our choice, and some who just decided to go on and do other things,” Bourgon said.

This time, the rumors are centering around a much smaller exodus — three attorneys who are leaving the firm and a couple who are deciding to be of-counsel — and a move sometime later this year. About the latter, Bourgon said that the firm has for a long time occupied the ninth and 10th floors of the 2000 tower of Town Center. And that’s just much more space than the firm needs.

“We’re coming to the end of a 10-year lease, and saw this as an opportunity to look at what kind of firm we are, what kind of firm we want to be, and get right-sized,” Bourgon said.

Senior Shareholder Richard Groffsky said that the new space will still be in Southfield (possibly in Town Center, though the firm has not yet made a final decision). At the beginning of the firm’s 10-year lease, the firm employed 80 attorneys, Groffsky said. And every lawyer had his or her own secretary.

“We haven’t operated that way for a long time,” Groffsky said. Now, the firm has 40 lawyers. He said that the lease ends Dec. 31. Bourgon said the firm will likely have agreements on new space by July 15.

“But any rumor that the firm is dissolving is 100 percent untrue,” Groffsky said.

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