Akin Gump, Bankruptcy, Biglaw, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Dissolution, Lateral Moves, Layoffs, LeBoeuf Lamb, Media and Journalism, Music, Musical Chairs, Partner Issues, Silicon Valley, Staff Layoffs

Dewey Have Any Partners Left To Be Poached? Not Many After the Latest Departures

The revolving door continues to spin, quite furiously, at the rapidly collapsing Dewey & LeBoeuf. We mentioned some of the latest partner departures in last night’s post (which we updated again this morning).

These are major defections, which strike at the heart of what was left of the firm. In case there was any doubt after last Friday’s WARN Act notice or yesterday’s big layoffs, it may soon be time to stick a fork in LeBoeuf.

So what’s the latest word on who is going where?

As we noted in an update appended to our last Dewey post, several major moves were reported late last night in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.):

Ailing law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP suffered a global round of defections as 25 partners and their teams jumped ship in cities ranging from Palo Alto, Calif., to Moscow.

One of Dewey’s most-prized assets — the mergers-and-acquisitions group led by Silicon Valley attorneys Richard Climan and Keith Flaum — is heading to Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, according to people familiar with the matter. The team, which includes three other partners and four associates, became the focus of a bidding war between rival firms, these people said….

The Palo Alto departures came as Dewey’s entire 31-lawyer office in Moscow, considered one of its most attractive foreign assets, defected to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, a Philadelphia-based firm perhaps best known for its labor and employment practice. The Moscow office, led by partner Brian Zimbler, has a strong, well-connected corporate group….

From New York, Dewey’s Berge Setrakian, a prominent corporate lawyer who advises international companies on strategy and litigation, is bound for the global firm DLA Piper with nine other partners, including Joseph Tato, former chairman of Dewey’s global project finance and infrastructure group.

According to Am Law Daily (reg. req.), Setrakian joined LeBoeuf Lamb from Winston & Strawn back in May 2005. His book of business at the time was estimated at between $15 million and $20 million.

There’s additional discussion of the latest moves over at DealBook, which notes that the departure of Climan and Setrakian deals “a major blow to Dewey’s chances for survival.” The DealBook story also mentions this news: “Akin Gump announced on Tuesday morning that it had added three Dewey energy industry lawyers to its partnership ranks, including John C. LaMaster, who was chairman of Dewey’s global oil and natural gas group and is based in London.”

You can check out the Akin Gump press release here. The two other Dewey partners moving to Akin are Marc Hammerson, also in London, and Steven Otillar, in Houston. The trio focuses on cross-border energy transactions.

And here’s word of a Dewey partner who left some time ago — not for another law firm, but for a different and perhaps more interesting venture, in the world of music and media. From Am Law Daily:

L. Londell McMillan, Jr., 45, the former head of Dewey’s entertainment, media, and sports group, left the firm in recent months to focus on his role as executive publisher of The Source, a monthly magazine covering hip-hop music and culture.

A Dewey spokesman confirmed in an e-mail to The Am Law Daily that McMillan left the firm in December. McMillan didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Rumors about McMillan no longer being at Dewey have been circulating for weeks; we first heard about them around late February. But this is the first that time D&L has officially confirmed the reports. (Rule of thumb for Dewey rumors: if you hear a rumor about the firm, there’s an 80 percent chance that it is, or will soon become, true.)

Meanwhile, below the partner level, people continue to feel the pain. We previously mentioned — see here, under the updates — the plight of previously laid-off Dewey employees. That discussion was based on a D&L lawyer who was laid off in March. But some Dewey lawyers were quietly dismissed even before March, and they will also be hurt. One of them wrote to us:

Victims of pre-March stealth layoffs were promised a year of severance at a percentage of our salary and full health benefits for a year (through COBRA but with all premiums paid by Dewey), as part of the “DL Pursuits” program. Unless you were almost done with your year, you get screwed out of most of your severance package and will no longer have health benefits once the firm terminates its health benefits (when the firm dissolves).

It sounds like DL Pursuits alumni need to go in pursuit of new health insurance. And new employment.

For folks who are still at Dewey & LeBoeuf, these are sad times. Many employees will be losing their jobs on Friday. But some, it seems, will go down with the ship.

On a recent visit to 1301 Avenue of the Americas, Julie Triedman of Am Law Daily asked Dewey’s director of finance, Frank Canellas, how long he was planning to stay at the firm.

“All the way to the end,” he told her. “All the way to the end.”

Dewey Suffers Global Defections [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
More Top Lawyers Leave Dewey & LeBoeuf [DealBook / New York Times]
Source: Dewey Corporate Rainmaker Setrakian to Join DLA Piper [Am Law Daily (reg. req.)]
With Music About to Stop for Dewey, Beat Plays on for Ex-Partner [Am Law Daily (reg. req.)]
The Dewey Scene: Moving Trucks, Depressed Employees, and Attention-Seeking Artist
[Am Law Daily (reg. req.)]
Akin Gump Expands Global Transactions Team with Three Leading Energy Partners
[Akin Gump (press release)]

Earlier: Dewey Have an End in Sight? Friday Will Be the Last Day for Some Employees
When Dewey WARN People?

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