After more than 81 years as one of Phoenix’s biggest and most powerful law firms, Jennings Strouss has closed its offices and is now on the other side of a court case.
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A message on the law firm’s website reads: “For more than 80 years, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon proudly provided legal services as one of the premier law firms in the State of Arizona. Regrettably those decades of service come to an end on August 31, 2023 when the firm ceases active operations. For those of you who have not already been in touch with your attorney about the transition of their practice to another firm, please contact them at their ‘jsslaw.com’ email address and you will receive information on how to reach them at their new firm. The entire team at Jennings Strouss thanks the Community for its tremendous support over the years.”
According to court filings from PNC Bank, which gave the law firm a $4 million line of credit four months ago, most of its attorneys have already moved to other firms. According to the complaint filed by Engelman Berger on behalf of PNC, Jennings Strouss has already drawn $3.4 million of the $4 million line of credit. PNC’s court filing says the firm’s actions in not advising the bank of all of the departing attorneys constitutes a default, warranting an appointment of a receiver in order to protect the bank.
“Substantially all of the attorneys and other employees of Borrower have taken jobs at other law firms and taken their book of business with them, thereby transferring substantially of the assets and business of Borrower to these other firms,” PNC’s court filing reads. “PNC believes that Borrower is shutting down its operations is because it is insolvent, and that Borrower will not be making any further payments on the Loan.”
Before its current troubles, Jennings Strouss had expanded with offices in Tucson, Washington, Austin and elsewhere. It was headquartered in Cityscape in downtown Phoenix. The landlord has been named as a co-defendant.
More answers may come Tuesday when an order to show cause hearing is scheduled.