Biglaw, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Partner Issues, Willkie Farr

Dewey Know How Many People Can Manage a Firm at One Time?

Dewey & LeBoeuf Chairman Steven Davis was last heard in these pages sounding like Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House: “Remain calm. All is well.” Your bonuses will be delayed.

Oh, did I say “Chairman”? Sorry, that’s not entirely accurate anymore. “Chairman” connotes a single person who is in charge of a company’s operations. That’s just not Davis’s function anymore.

Instead, Dewey is creating a “chairman’s office” of five co-equal members.

Oh, I’m sure that will work. Just like the Jets will have no problem having two, co-equal, starting quarterbacks….

Davis will be moving to the firm’s London office. But it’s not a demotion! Instead, Davis will be leading the firm with four other leaders. Bloomberg reports:

The new members include the heads of its bankruptcy, corporate, litigation and public policy practice groups, according to the letter, which also provides current revenue data. Current Chairman Steven Davis, who will relocate to London, will be joined in the chairman’s office by Martin Bienenstock, who runs the firm’s restructuring group; Rich Shutran, head of the corporate department; Jeffrey Kessler, head of litigation; and Charles Landgraf, who runs the the Washington office and the legislative and public policy group, according to the letter.

The new management team is being set up after “internal requests for more hands-on management,” Shutran said in a phone interview yesterday. Once voted in, the new structure will also send a message to clients that the heads of the most profitable practices are committed to the firm’s future, he said.

“We’re responding to a general sentiment that we should be more involved in the executive management of the firm,” he said.

Does this seem like a bit of a Hail Mary to anyone else? Here’s the other Dewey news today, from the ABA Journal:

The firm has been in the news for lawyer departures, including the managing partner of its Houston office and six insurance partners.

That’s on the heels of a dozen Dewey partners leaving for Willkie Farr. The defecting group was expected by Dewey to have generated about $47 million in revenue in 2012.

We certainly think Dewey partners are committed to the future. We’re just not sure if they’re committed to the firm’s future or to their own.

Dewey Law Firm Adds Four Partners to Chairman’s Office [Bloomberg]
Dewey Creates Chairman’s Office with Five Members; Leaked Letter Cites Revenue Jump [ABA Journal]
Bleeding Continues at Dewey as 12 Partners Bolt for Willkie [Am Law Daily]

Earlier: Dewey Bonuses Are Going to Be Late This Year

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