Bankruptcy, Biglaw, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Dewey Ballantine, Dissolution, JPMorgan Chase, King & Spalding, Kramer Levin, Lateral Moves, LeBoeuf Lamb, Money, Partner Issues, Partner Profits

Dewey Partners Get Any Capital Back? Good Luck With That!
(Plus more partner moves, including Ralph Ferrara.)

The pace of the Dewey story is slowing, but it certainly hasn’t stopped. Here are a few odds and ends:

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.

With the Ferrara pick-up, Proskauer is ending up with some of Dewey’s jewels. As you may recall, Proskauer previously recruited Dewey’s bankruptcy superstar, Martin Bienenstock.

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:

DLA Piper extended its streak of hiring Dewey defectors by picking up corporate partners Heng Loong Cheong and Joyce Chan in Hong Kong, according to sibling publication The Asian Lawyer.

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]

Earlier: Dewey Have Plans To File for Bankruptcy? Sources Say Yes
Lawyerly Lairs: Dewey Know What Steven Davis’s Office Looks Like?
Dewey Have A Meme Contest For You!

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25 Responses to “Dewey Partners Get Any Capital Back? Good Luck With That!
(Plus more partner moves, including Ralph Ferrara.)

  1. Headline_Quant says:

    Corrected headline: Dewey Know Howrey Gonna Get Our Capital Contributions Back?

  2. Mrs. Herman says:

    “JD might not be the sexiest firm, but it certainly is stable”


  3. BK = Burger King, right? says:

    Ok, not a BK expert though familiar with the basic outlines. 

    So let me see if I have this straight, for the last 6 weeks or so, while the USS D&L has been taking on water, I’m presuming the Bank Creditors (which have been running the firm) have been steering as much of the A/R to the Bank Creditors, while stiffing trade creditors and apparently employee severance. 

    And then they’ll voluntarily petition?  

    Like, that’s f—ed up, right?  Won’t the other creditors claim that D&L was insolvent well before petition and that Bank Creditors cut-in-line, ahead of employees and other more deserving creditors?  

    • Guest says:

       That’s what preferences and (possibly) fraudulent transfer actions are for.  For insiders, the preference period is a year.  One way or another, Dewey should be in BK by then.

      • Dewey_Get_To_Eat? says:

        I sure hope so, a Whopper would be a big step up from the $0.99 a slice pizza I’ve been living on!

        -Dewey Junior Partner

    • WhinderDowner says:

      That’s right my friend, the secured’s are running the show and collecting the dough.  They brought in the wind down team to create a BS WARN document in a bogus attempt to push the employees further down the line.  Great strategy.  Instead of complying with your corporate obligations and federal law, fire everyone so you can steal their severance.  US AG and Dept. of Labor needs to step in here.  What partners actually authorized the mass layoff?  Did the wind down even have authority to do what they did? 

      • guest says:

        I posted this on another thread, but never heard a response.  Is JPMorgan most likely to be targeted for a fraudulent transfer action since they filed their UCC on May 3rd?

  4. SECGonad says:

    Hey, don’t they know that Mel Weiss isn’t practicing law, so he can’t give Ralph the heads up on his securities cases anymore? 

  5. Youroff says:

    Why did one of the Dewey teams bring a corporate lawyer to work on an international litigation matter to DLA?  She has no work, what can she do as a litigator?

  6. Shutransfollies says:

    Bienenstock has been working his magic in a fruitless–though not entirely so–effort to push out the insolvency date, but who is going to break the hull on this U Boat?  How long are the unsecured’s going to let the secured’s steal the AR?  Should have tanked this thing the day after the WARN.  Now it all will need to be unwound in BK.  Get in their and take over the adversary claims from the estate now.

  7. WindDownTeamKarma says:

    Got to hand it to that wind up team.  Fire everyone and keep a few people to open the mail and cash the checks.  In six weeks, they probably collected 30-50 mil, and paid down their debt instead of severences lawfully owed under federal law. 

  8. YourFired says:

    Above the law has really dropped the ball on the firings here.  Most of NY was purportedly tagged via mass meeting or email.  Boston got the axe by video conference.  These people did not even have the decency to bring in an outplacement team to take care of the mess the  fraudulent transfer partners left behind. 

  9. honestly says:

    “Photo (no, not a photoshop) by ATL reader ‘Anna.’ ”

    Thanks for clearing that up Lat, otherwise I never would have believed that there was a broom in front of a sign.

  10. BKfortheStars says:

    When this is all done, most of the overpaid partners will be filing bankruptcy.  The clawbacks and tax liability for forgiven partner debt will sink them as well. 

  11. Native says:

    There wasn’t enough room on the statements to say that the statements were fraudulent?  Usually defense lawyers come up with better excuses than that.

  12. Guest says:

    Is Ralph bringing any associates/staff?

  13. Baker & Murchison says:

     IIRC, Roxann Henry was a longtime Howrey partner (and may have spent her entire
    career there before Dewey).

  14. ExLeBoeuf says:

    “Photo (no, not a photoshop) by ATL reader ‘Anna.'”

    Loved the photo. It’s like a literal illustration of Quinming — the Chinese “grave sweeping” or “tomb sweeping” holiday when Chinese visit and tend to (sweep) the graves of their ancestors.

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