law firm news
The plight of Dewey & LeBoeuf recently has been the object of much morbid fascination
in the legal world—at least the part that’s not currently employed by or sending work to
the possibly soon-to-be-defunct law firm.
Whispers of the firm’s downfall began in January, and shortly thereafter the
number of partner defections increased from a trickle to a hemorrhage. With their
departure came news of Dewey’s financial troubles, which largely stemmed from
extending lucrative pay guarantees to top producers. Dewey has lost more than half
of its almost 300 partners since the year began.
Given the exodus of talent, Dewey has since struggled to restructure its loans with
banks and still owes about $75 million on a $100 million credit line. After revamping
its management team in March and retaining bankruptcy counsel in April, the firm
was unable to close potential merger deals with Greenberg Traurig and SNR Denton.
After former firm chairman Steven Davis was let go when news broke that he was
under investigation by New York district attorneys, Dewey’s management team sent
multiple memos to its remaining attorneys warning them of its potential closure and
suggesting that they find alternative employment.
As of press time, Dewey contends that it’s not considering bankruptcy.
law firm Carlton Fields’ 2012 Class
action Survey, released in april, offered a curious prediction for the
state of class action lawsuits in the
coming months. the 300 in-house
lawyers polled for the survey said that
while they anticipated an uptick in
the number of class actions, they also
expected to spend less money defending class action litigation in 2012.
Respondents predicted that the
most class action activity would fall
under the labor and employment
umbrella, with consumer fraud and
privacy suits tied for second place
and product liability coming in third.
other key findings from the report
an average of 5. 4 class action
matters per company, up from
4. 4 in 2011
to reduce spending by 17 percent
sel plan to use more alternative
fee arrangements for class actions
( 45. 8 percent, compared with
23. 9 percent in 2009)
planned to save money by keep-
ing class action work in-house
PhotoGRaPhy by blooMbeRG via Getty iMaGeS
on the record
“Corruption is a form of theft and it’s not really accepted anywhere.
And our employees are thrilled to … be a part of the solution.”
—PETER SOLMSSEN, Siemens’ GC, commenting on his company’s and employees’ response to its widespread bribery problem in
2007 in the wake of the recent allegations against Wal-Mart de Mexico. (NPR, May 1)