Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey
Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey was a United States law firm founded in 1968. The firm, based in New York, had grown from eight lawyers at its inception to over 700 lawyers at the time of its bankruptcy and dissolution in 1987. At the time it dissolved, Finley, Kumble was the fourth largest law firm in the United States, and at its peak was the country's second largest firm, behind only the international firm Baker & McKenzie.
The firm's precipitous demise is believed to have been caused by infighting among its partners and excessive debt incurred by the firm's famous practice of paying exorbitant salaries to prominent and well-connected attorneys to entice them to join the firm as partners, including former United States Senators Joseph Tydings, Paul Laxalt, and Russell B. Long, as well as by its rapid expansion, including the addition of firm offices in cities around the United States and the United Kingdom. By the time it folded, the firm had debts in excess of $60 million.
Finley, Kumble is notable for being among the first law firms to shun traditional, collegial legal management protocols in favor of operating more like a conventional business, for example, by routinely recruiting partners from other firms and shunning seniority-based partner compensation in favor of paying greater salaries to those partners who generated the most business, strategies that have since become common in the legal industry (see book of business (law)).
Other notable past Finley, Kumble partners include former governor of New York, Hugh L. Carey, former mayor of New York, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and former New York attorney general Nathaniel L. Goldstein.
Legal writer Steven Brill covered the rise and fall of the firm in the pages of his magazine American Lawyer. This coverage was controversial due to his social relationship with firm partner Marshall Manley and others within the firm.
The firm's rise and fall was chronicled in the book Shark Tank by Kim Isaac Eisler. Former named partner Steven Kumble also authored a history of the firm, entitled Conduct Unbecoming, The Rise and Ruin of Finley, Kumble.