Biglaw, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Lateral Moves, Money, Partner Issues, Secretaries / Administrative Assistants

Dewey Have a Plan of Action?

We recently wrote about various developments at Dewey & LeBoeuf. There have been reports of the firm having some financial issues, and there have been some notable partner departures as well. Sources we’ve heard from at Dewey feel significant anxiety right now about the direction of the firm.

Let’s hear about the latest partner defections, as well as reports about how people are feeling at the firm right now….

Three Dewey partners have moved over to Sidley Austin, as reported yesterday by the Daily Journal (sub. req.):

Sidley Austin LLP snagged three partners from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, including the Los Angeles-based co-chair of the firm’s clean energy practice and the head of the firm’s D.C.’s corporate practice.

In Los Angeles, Sean Moran, who was also managing partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office, joined Sidley along with project finance specialist Michael Joyce on Tuesday, Sidley spokeswoman Janet Zagorin confirmed.

Meanwhile, the head of Dewey’s Washington, D.C. corporate department, Timothy Moran, who is not related to Sean Moran, is joining Sidley on the East Coast, according to a Sidley partner who declined to comment publicly.

The news is now reflected in two press releases on the Sidley website.

As we noted in our earlier story, some partner departures are welcomed or even encouraged by the firms they leave. But one tipster told us that’s not what’s happening here:

[T]he issue is partners’ comp. This exodus isn’t over and, unfortunately, I don’t think senior management anticipated the quantity and quality of people decamping. This isn’t spring cleaning any more — it is in fact an exodus of talent that we would have wanted to keep. It puts in peril future beauty pageants because all of a sudden we’ve lost our deep bench on a number of critical areas.

The associates are very nervous. The Sidley raid on L.A. and D.C., and who knows what other offices, was one big sign of [our] losing our deep bench.

We previously mentioned missed payments to former partners and tardiness on a required ERISA deposit. A different Dewey source confirmed those reports and added that the firm sometimes drags its feet on paying its vendors, claiming that bills sometimes take 90 days to get paid.

All kinds of crazy rumors have been making the rounds. We’re not passing along a lot of them because they’re unsubstantiated. But we’ll share this one prediction from a source; if it comes to pass, then perhaps we’ll share others. Here it is:

All New York associates will be pulled into a meeting where they will be told that they must give up their traditional 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. secretary support and go on a secretarial service team. The benefit to the firm is that these teams are comprised of three secretaries whose hours are staggered out from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and can provide support to as many as 40 associates. It will not be a request. All associates must be assigned to teams.

If this transpires, Dewey associates, please let us know. We may then pass along additional information from the same source about what’s supposed to happen next, on the theory that this source is reliable and knowledgeable….

Partners Sean Moran and Michael Joyce Join Sidley in Los Angeles [Sidley Austin]
Sidley Austin LLP Expands Project Finance Practice in Washington D.C. with the Addition of Timothy J. Moran [Sidley Austin]
Trio defects from Dewey to Sidley [Daily Journal]

Earlier: Where’s LeBoeuf? An Update on Doings at Dewey

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