What must it be like right now to be working at Dewey & LeBoeuf? One imagines a lot of whispered conversations, furrowed brows, and closed office doors. It’s a difficult and stressful time at D&L. To our friends at Dewey, keep your chins up (but, at the same time, do what you need to do to protect yourself and your career).
The anxiety at Dewey is increased by the firm’s cash crunch. Lawyers and staff at the firm are having a harder time doing their jobs because certain resources aren’t available to them.
Even in the digital age, with so many documents transmitted electronically rather than physically, FedEx is still a mainstay at major law firms — but not at Dewey. “We are restricted from using the account and now have to rely on UPS or express mail for overnights,” a source at Dewey told us. “Even if a package is labeled to go out via FedEx, when it goes down to mailroom it is relabeled for one of our new shipping methods. Do you know any other company that can stay afloat without FedEx?”
Will Dewey be staying afloat? Let’s hear the latest about other services that D&L lawyers and staff can’t use, some possible partner departures, and the firm’s ambitious plan for saving itself — via bankruptcy….
Getting a black town car to take you home after a long day is one of the little pleasures of Biglaw. Alas, on top of the FedEx issue, we hear that Dewey has been cut off by a car service for non-payment of bills. For a time the firm couldn’t get client records out of a warehouse, also because of an overdue bill. Practicing at an Am Law 100 firm is challenging enough as it is; having to do so without basic resources is like entering a war zone without firearms. Even lawyers at small law firms wouldn’t do that.
UPDATE (4/23/2012): As reported by the Wall Street Journal, “the firm told its New York lawyers they would have to pay for car reservations with their own corporate or personal credit cards rather than billing rides through a corporate account, as had long been custom.”
In terms of upcoming departures, we’re hearing that two significant corporate partners could leave the London office as early as Monday. We also understand that several tax partners will be leaving soon, perhaps as early as today or next week. Some of the partners said to be in talks include Fred Gander, Hershel Wein, Joseph Pari, and Gordon Warnke.
We reached out to all four, as well as to Dewey itself. The only one to get back to us was Joe Pari, who simply stated, “I have not resigned from Dewey & LeBoeuf.” We asked whether he might be in talks with other firms, but he declined to say more.
We’ve also heard that litigator Adam Kaiser might leave the firm by the end of this month. We reached out to him by email, and he issued this comment: “I am a partner at Dewey and believe it would be inappropriate for me to respond any further to your email.”
Now, on to the bankruptcy preparations….