Allen & Overy, Bankruptcy, Biglaw, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Lateral Moves, Law Firm Mergers, Musical Chairs, Partner Issues, Summer Associates

Dewey Have A Suitor? Plus Another Confirmed Partner Defection, and Discussion of Deferrals

Here in New York, the theater community is gearing up for the Tony Award season. Which shows will snag coveted nominations for best musical and best play?

In the world of Biglaw, though, there’s no competing with the drama now unfolding at Dewey & LeBoeuf, the once elite and now rapidly imploding law firm. Thus far, the story of Dewey has been dynamic but depressing, more tragedy than comedy.

But might that change? Could the tale of D&L end happily, like a Shakespearean comedy — with a wedding?

On Friday, we mentioned that Dewey is thinking about a prepackaged bankruptcy, followed by a merger with a healthier firm. As noted in an update added to our post, a firm-wide memo subsequently issued by Dewey’s five-man “Office of the Chairman” confirmed that the firm is “considering various paths” but that “[n]othing, however, at this point, is definitive.” (The full memo is reprinted in full on the last page of this post.)

Our earlier story mentioned three possible partners for Dewey: Greenberg Traurig, Reed Smith, and Shearman & Sterling. A Shearman spokesperson denied merger talks with Dewey, and Reed Smith didn’t comment.

So speculation is now focusing on Greenberg Traurig. As reported by Bloomberg:

“We have had preliminary discussions relating to lawyers at Dewey LeBoeuf but we have made no commitments, have not reached agreements and have had no involvement in the firm’s financial situation or relationships,” Jill Perry, a Greenberg Traurig spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement [on Friday].

Greenberg Traurig has grown into a firm with more than 1,700 lawyers and 29 U.S. locations without having done a merger, Perry said in the statement. The New York-based firm regularly considers “quality opportunities” and had discussions “in that spirit,” according to the statement.

Note the wording of the statement: GT has had “preliminary discussions relating to lawyers at Dewey,” as opposed to talks about a merger with the entire firm. It’s quite possible, even likely, that Greenberg will just pick up selected partners and practices.

For example, it appears that Dewey’s Italian office, the locus of much drama in recent weeks, might be going with Greenberg. I don’t speak Italian — perhaps some of you do? — but one of our tipsters drew our attention to this Italian-language report, providing the following capsule summary in English: “After days of speculations, here is the real news. The merger with Greenberg Traurig will be made public tomorrow.” (A more detailed translation appears on the last page of this post.)

Meanwhile, in other Dewey news, we have a confirmed report of another partner defection, plus information about incoming associates and summer associates at D&L….

(hidden for your protection)

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