Arnold & Porter, Bankruptcy, Biglaw, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Dissolution, ERISA, Lateral Moves, Musical Chairs, Partner Issues

L’Affaire LeBoeuf: The Latest Links and News

In our last full post on Dewey & LeBoeuf, the fast-fading New York law firm, we tried to find some moments of humor in this generally depressing story. Now we’ll return to the hard — and gloomy — Dewey news. (We mentioned several D&L items in today’s Morning Docket.)

Without further ado, let’s find out what’s going on….

1. Pension litigation. Last week, we broke the news of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation stepping in to take over three massively underfunded Dewey pension plans. Now the PBGC has sued Dewey in Manhattan federal court, as reported by Thomson Reuters.

According to the WSJ Law Blog, “[t]he move was prompted in part by the agency’s concern that the sale of Dewey affiliates, which are partly responsible for funding the pensions, would make it harder for PBGC to recover money for the shortfall.” The PBGC seeks to terminate the plans officially, to have itself appointed as trustee, and to obtain plan documents, records, and assets from Dewey. The case has been assigned to one of the S.D.N.Y.’s newest members, Judge Jesse Furman.

2. Overseas offices. Speaking of Dewey affiliates, the firm is parting ways with various foreign offices. Dewey’s Italian operations are spinning off to form a separate law firm, Grimaldi Studio Legale. And as we mentioned yesterday, Greenberg Traurig is picking up D&L’s Poland operations, to create Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak (a move that pension regulators have approved).

3. Partner departures. On the domestic front, individual partners and groups of partners continue to defect. The biggest move is the 11-person group headed for Schulte Roth & Zabel, as reported by the New York Law Journal (reg. req.):

Schulte Roth & Zabel announced yesterday it was picking up a group of private equity and real estate attorneys from Dewey.

Joseph Smith, chair of Dewey’s private equity practice, and Marshall Brozost join Schulte as partners. Sanford Morhouse joins as of counsel, while Russel Perkins, Shawn McCune and David Miller join as special counsel. The firm also is picking up a group of five associates.

Alan Waldenberg, a member of Schulte’s executive committee, said the addition is the largest group of lawyers the firm ever has brought on in one stroke. “We don’t do a lot of laterals, but these guys were too good to be true,” he said. “They give us more depth in the private equity space.”

Private equity is, of course, already one of SRZ’s top practices. An ATL tipster told us: “Not a typical move for us — everyone very interested to see how it plays out.”

In other news of partner moves….

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