1. Bank representation. The Dewey downfall is creating legal work for other law firms. For example, Kramer Levin is advising JPMorgan Chase, the agent bank for Dewey’s bank lenders. These lenders are owed a reported $75 million on a $100 million revolver. As you may recall, JPMorgan filed a Uniform Commercial Code lien against Dewey on May 2.
2. Settlement of a malpractice lawsuit. In February, Dewey “quietly settled a $3 billion malpractice suit filed against it in Missouri three years ago by state insurance regulators who accused predecessor firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae of participating in a conflict-riddled scheme to push General American Life Insurance Co. — at one time the Show Me State’s largest life insurer — into insolvency and, ultimately, the hands of fellow LeBoeuf Lamb client MetLife.” Read more in Sara Randazzo’s detailed Am Law Daily piece (which notes that Dewey’s counsel in the case, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, might still be owed money by Dewey).
3. Partner departures. Even though the Dewey website is something of a “ghost ship” right now, there are still some passengers from the S.S. Dewey who are only now finding new vessels. Here’s the biggest news, from a press release by Proskauer:
Proskauer announced today that Ralph C. Ferrara, one of the nation’s foremost securities and corporate governance lawyers, will join the firm together with his highly regarded colleagues, Partners Ann M. Ashton, Jonathan E. Richman and Tanya J. Dmitronow. All come from Dewey & LeBoeuf, where Mr. Ferrara was the firm’s Vice Chair, and Mr. Richman and Ms. Ashton served as co-heads of its Securities, M&A and Corporate Governance Litigation Practice Group. Mr. Ferrara and Ms. Ashton join the firm’s Washington, DC office, and Mr. Richman and Ms. Dmitronow join its New York office.
Ferrara, a former general counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission, was one of Dewey’s most prominent partners. He was lured over to legacy LeBoeuf by former chairman Steven Davis. Per DealBook, “LeBoeuf caused a stir in the corporate law world by agreeing to pay Mr. Ferrara about $2 million a year and assuming responsibility for his pension of roughly $15 million.” Some say that the success of the Ferrara hire gave Davis “a false sense of confidence” in his ability to grow his firm through lateral partner acquisitions.
The Ferrara group may be the biggest in new lateral hiring coups, but there are some other noteworthy moves. Here’s an Am Law Daily round-up:
Kaye Scholer also went back to the Dewey well, taking on a four-member securities and financial services litigation group in Chicago led by former Dewey partner and new senior counsel Alan Salpeter, counsels Therese King Nohos and Bryan Westhoff, and associate Ross Neihaus.
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, another shop that has been active in adding lawyers abandoning Dewey, announced its hire of former firm insurance tax partners Dennis Allen and M. Kristan Rizzolo in Washington, D.C. And elsewhere in D.C., former Dewey energy of counsel Lawrence Acker and Brian O’Neill have joined Van Ness Feldman with the same title, according to The Blog of Legal Times.
And here are a few more, from Thomson Reuters:
Attorneys from Dewey & LeBoeuf continue to spread out among other firms. In New York, tech transactions attorney Robert Finkel has joined WilmerHale, while tax attorney Domnick Bozzetti has moved to Morrison & Foerster. In Washington, DC, antitrust attorney Roxann Henry has also joined MoFo as a partner; [and] counsel William Rice and partner James Bowe and have joined King & Spalding’s energy practice….
Of course, all the Dewey moves are captured over at Am Law’s Dewey departure tracker.
We’ll continue to provide close coverage of the Dewey story. We welcome your insights and information, by email and by text message (646-820-8477; texts only, not a voice line). Thanks.
When Law Firms Fail, Partners Feel Squeeze [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) via WSJ Law Blog]
Did End of Missouri Malpractice Case Feed Dewey’s Money Woes? [American Lawyer (reg. req.) via ABA Journal]
Kramer Levin Advising Banks as Dewey Stragglers Continue to Disperse [American Lawyer (reg. req.)]
Proskauer Adds Prominent Securities Litigation Group in Washington, DC and New York [Proskauer (press release)]
CAREER TRACKER: Lawyers on the move – May 21, 2012 [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]