Sources tell Above the Law that Morton Pierce, co-chair of the M&A practice group, could be leaving the firm within a matter of days. This shouldn’t come as a shock; rumors about Mort Pierce’s possible departure have been swirling for quite some time now. Back on April 5, for example, the Daily Journal (sub. req.) reported that Pierce has been talking to O’Melveny & Myers.
We reached out to Pierce by email. He kindly responded:
Thank you for reaching out to me. I am not part of the management of the Firm and do not comment on any Firm matters. I recommend that you contact Rich Shutran, who is one of the members of the Office of the Chairman.
As for Greenberg Traurig, viewed by some as D&L’s white knight, it looks like GT might instead just pick up selected partners (which has been my prediction all along). Ashby Jones and Jennifer Smith have this report in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.):
Top partners at Greenberg, a 1,700-lawyer firm that was founded in Miami, have been reaching out individually to key partners at Dewey, according to two Dewey lawyers. The New York firm has approached at least three firms about options that include a potential merger, according to people familiar with the matter.
The phone calls from the Greenberg partners, many of which took place over the weekend, were described as “social” and “highly introductory,” according to one Dewey partner. Neither financial terms nor the structure of a potential merger were discussed, according to the partner.
If individual Greenberg partners are making “social” and “introductory” calls to individual Dewey partners, without discussing financial terms or the structure of a possible merger, it seems that GT is merely laying the groundwork for acquiring the most desirable Dewey partners and practices. Dewey is just days away from the deadline for renegotiating its revolving credit facility — but GT, instead of getting down to brass tacks, is doing the telephonic equivalent of stopping by for tea and crumpets. This does not sound promising.
We hope, for the sake of the thousands of lawyers and staffers of Dewey, that the firm has a backup plan. Time is running out, but Dewey still has some great deal lawyers and bankruptcy lawyers in its stable of talent. If anyone can figure out how to salvage the situation, they can.
Shrinking legal giant sheds big block of space [Crain's New York Business]
Dewey & LeBoeuf puts one-third of its office space up for sublet [The Real Deal]
Greenberg Traurig Explores Dewey & LeBoeuf Deal [Wall Street Journal]
Dewey Reportedly Lists Up to a Third of Its Headquarters for Sublease; Talks Continue with Greenberg