Dewey Ballantine

When Harry Met Sally 3 Above the Law Orgasm.JPGWhy did the merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe die on the vine?
Traditional theory: Dewey’s loss of key partners, such as M&A stars Michael Aiello and Jack Bodner, made it a much less attractive merger partner. Why buy a cow after the milk has dried up? See here.
Revisionist theory: It was that godawful nickname, “Dewy Orifice” — a clear sign that the gods did not look favorably upon this union. See here.
We got our hands on the email that went around at Dewey Ballantine this afternoon, announcing the death of this combination. You can check it out after the jump.

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When Harry Met Sally 3 Above the Law Orgasm.JPGVia the WSJ Law Blog, here’s the text of the two firms’ joint statement:

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Dewey Ballantine LLP have jointly decided to end merger discussions. Both firms are successful, global firms that saw great potential in a combination. However, a combination of this size and scope posed significant challenges. While both firms tried their best to work through these challenges, we were unable to bring the merger to completion. No one issue led us to this point, and each firm leaves this process with great respect for the leaders and partners of the other.

This is very bad news for Dewey. Uncertainty in the wake of the merger caused several of their top partners, including leading M&A lawyers, to leave for other firms. So Dewey is now worse off than it was before the announcement of the merger — and now without a merger partner.
At first we thought: Orrick is like a Lothario who seduced Dewey, gave her a loathsome disease, and then dumped her.
But then a Dewey tipster told us:

The word is that Orrick is unhappy with the M&A partners who have left. Mort [Pierce] asked [Ralph] Baxter to come up with a counter proposal, but Baxter [didn't produce an adequate alternative].

So now we think: Orrick is like a Lothario who seduced Dewey, gave her a loathsome disease, and then dumped her. When Dewey asked Orrick, “Why are you dumping me?”, Orrick responded: “Why would I want you? You’re damaged goods. And you have a loathsome disease!”
Earlier: Prior coverage of the Dewey-Orrick merger (scroll down)

drudge siren.gifThe planned merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has been called off. Last month, the troubled transaction was indefinitely postponed — not a good sign.
Given the unfortunate nickname that was bestowed upon the new entity, the disintegration of this deal may be just as well.
We hear that an internal email just went around at Dewey. If so, can someone please forward it to us — or post its text in the comments?
If you have tips or further details about the scuttling of this deal, please email us.
Update (12:45 PM): Orrick chairman Ralph Baxter Jr. has confirmed the news to the WSJ Law Blog.
P.S. No, we couldn’t bring ourselves to make a joke about “withdrawal from the Dewy Orifice.”
Dewey, Orrick Merger Is Off [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Prior coverage of the Dewey-Orrick merger (scroll down)

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFA few of the more prominent moves within this noble profession:
From government to private sector:
* Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton is joining Royal Dutch Shell, as general counsel for its “unconventional resources division” (e.g., extracting oil from “oil shale” and “extra heavy oil” — don’t ask us, we don’t know).
(A WSJ Law Blog commenter sniffs: “One would think that she could have secured a more lucrative and high profile job, given her resume.” We agree somewhat on the “high profile” part, but don’t know enough about the filthy lucre associated with this gig.)
* Former assistant U.S. attorney Mauro Wolfe, with whom we used to work, to Dickstein Shapiro. He will be a partner in the firm’s securities practice, in the New York office.
* Mark Paoletta and Andrew Snowdon, to the D.C. office of Dickstein Shapiro (as partner and of counsel, respectively). Paoletta previously served as served as Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Snowdon previously served as a lawyer on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. They join the government law & strategy practice.
Within government:
* The United States Attorney for Connecticut, Kevin O’Connor, has been named associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. His DOJ work will focus on violent crime, gangs, and guns. O’Connor plans to retain his post as U.S. Attorney for at least six months.
Lateral moves:
* M&A lawyer Michael Aiello, to Weil Gotshal, from Dewey Ballantine (as previously noted).
* Finance lawyer Philip Haber, to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, from Nixon Peabody.
New partners:
* Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: Seven new partners. Names here (PDF).
* LeBoeuf Lamb: Five new partners. Names here.
* Patterson Belknap: White-collar defense lawyer Daniel Ruzumna, promoted from counsel to partner. Ruzumna served for six years as an AUSA in the legendary Southern District of New York. His final post in the S.D.N.Y. was Acting Chief of the Major Crimes Unit.
The voluminous links are collected after the jump.

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When Harry Met Sally 3 Above the Law Orgasm.JPGThe indefinitely delayed, potentially troubled merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe isn’t being well-received by Dewey support staff.
From a Dewey Ballantine tipster:

As far we non-attorney types go, it seems like more of a hostile takeover than a merger. So far, Orrick management is calling the shots on all the administrative areas of the merger. In the meetings I have been in or have heard about, Orrick is having their way with us.

Many in Payroll, Finance and IT [information technology] have already been given hard end dates. Many others are actively looking for other positions. Orrick has their IT department in Wheeling, West Virginia, whereas Dewey’s IT department is in New York. Having met some of the Orrick IT types and, I believe that the merged firm is going to lose out in that area.

In this merger, Dewey is looking like the receptive partner — the one getting f***ed.
Update: In the meantime, Dewey continues to hemorrhage key lawyers. The WSJ Law Blog just reported that Michael Aiello, who had been one of Dewey’s top M&A partners, has left the firm for Weil Gotshal & Manges.
Top Dewey M&A Partner Decamps to Weil [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Dewy Orifice (scroll down)

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFThe latest collection of moves within the profession:
From government to private sector:
* George Bundy Smith, former judge on the New York Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court (duh) — to Chadbourne & Parke, as a litigation partner.
Lateral moves:
* “A little ditty, about Jack and Diane”: M&A lawyer Jack Bodner, bankruptcy lawyer Dianne Coffino, and bankruptcy lawyer Ben Hoch, to Covington & Burling (NY), from Dewey Ballantine. We hear that this trio is “extraordinarily nice.”
Dewey Ballantine is in the process of merging with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe — a combination that has been delayed (and might possibly fall apart).
Covington will soon unveil plans for new office space in the fancy, Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building. It may be the coolest move since the Skaddenites got to shack up with the Conde Nasties (but there are probably fewer hotties among the ink-stained wretches of the Times than the staffers of Vogue).
* Duane Morris launches its Baltimore office by snagging three partners and an of counsel from DLA Piper: Jay Gordon Cohen, Keli Isaacson, George Nemphos, and Wilbert Sirota (of counsel).
On the Comeback Trail?
* You can’t keep a good woman down: Star Jones, the prosecutor turned television personality, is doing a radio show (after getting booted from “The View”). Good luck, Star!
Star Jones: a star reborn? [Miami Herald]
At Last, Star Jones Reynolds’ Dramatic Comeback! [Gawker]
NY Lawyers Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com]
Firm Opens Baltimore Office With Raid [NYLawyer.com]
Three More Walk Away From Dewey [WSJ Law Blog]

stack of bills cash money.jpgThis doesn’t really matter much (except, of course, to the people receiving the dough). But for those of you keeping score at home, Dewey Ballantine has just announced bonuses. Surprise surprise, they’re matching market.
Well, almost matching market. The stub bonus for Class of 2006 folks was a flat $5,000.
Other notable items from the memo: (1) a requirement of 1900 hours to receive the bonus, and (2) a vague statement concerning Dewey’s possible, but now delayed, merger with Orrick:

[M}any of you have questions regarding the 2007 bonus structure and how it will be impacted should we complete a merger with Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe LLP. We have not yet reached a final determination regarding the 2007 structure, but please be assured that our objective will always be to remain competitive in the legal market place and reward our attorneys for their hard work and contributions.

Assuming that a merger with the Orrick firm does occur, we will communicate the combined firm’s associate compensation structure as soon as possible. If the merger does not occur, attorneys will be notified of the Dewey Ballantine FY 2007 hours threshold promptly.

The full Dewey Ballantine memo, after the jump.

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stack of bills cash money.jpgWe summarized the past week in non-bonus news back in this post. Now, we provide a recap of last week in Biglaw and associate bonus news:
* In merger news, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart and Preston Gates & Ellis are combining to form “K&L Gates.”
* Meanwhile, the Dewey-Orrick merger will be delayed in its consummation.
* As for law firm associate bonuses, it was actually a pretty unexciting week, despite the flurry of announcements. With the obvious exception of Wachtell Lipton, every firm that announced essentially matched the market bonuses (as set during the prior week by Milbank).
* For the archives of our complete bonus coverage, click here, then scroll down. For bonus information about a specific firm, go to our firm-by-firm linkwrap, after the jump.

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When Harry Met Sally 3 Above the Law Orgasm.JPGThe merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe will take longer than expected. From the WSJ:

The proposed merger between law firms Dewey Ballantine LLP and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has encountered a delay. Meanwhile, Dewey Ballantine has lost some leading partners.

The full partnerships of both firms were due to vote this month on the merger, the main terms of which were approved by both firms’ executive committees in October. But the partnership votes have been put off until mid-January, at the earliest, as the two sides work through lingering management and other issues.

So it may take a while for these partners to reach The Big O.
And that may be just as well. When it comes to these kinds of things, the ride can be as important as the destination.
Proposed Law-Firm Merger Encounters Headwinds [Wall Street Journal via WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Best Law Firm Nickname EVER
Dewey Ballantine: “We’ll Have What She’s Having”

musical chairs 2 Above the Law legal blog above the law legal tabloid above the law legal gossip site.GIFIt has been a while since our last round-up of notable moves within the legal profession. So there’s a lot to report today:
Law Firm to… Prison?
* Former Milberg Weiss name partner Steven Schulman resigned from the firm to pursue “new ventures.” The most important of these “ventures” will surely be fighting federal charges of making illegal payments to plaintiffs in past cases.
Law Firms to In-House:
* Securities lawyer Stephen Cutler is leaving his partnership at WilmerHale to become general counsel of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the banking giant. From a tipster who works in securities law: “This is a big deal.”
Colleagues of Cutler described the JP Morgan gig to the WSJ Law Blog as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. Translation: Who wouldn’t want to make mid- instead of low-seven-figures?
* Another WilmerHale departure: J. Kevin McCarthy is taking over as top lawyer of the Cowen Group, an investment bank.
Government to Private Sector:
* Former New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah Poritz joins the Princeton office of Drinker Biddle & Reath, as of counsel. She stepped down from the New Jersey Supreme Court in October, after reaching the mandatory retirement age.
Government Promotion:
* David Nocenti, current counsel to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, will become counsel to the governor effective January 1.
Academia-Biglaw Alliance:
* Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe, the renowned constitutional scholar and SCOTUS litigator, is entering into a consulting arrangement with Akin Gump.
Akin Gump is developing a Supreme Court practice. Earlier this year, they added young SCOTUS superstar Tom Goldstein to their line-up.
Lateral Moves:
* Securities-enforcement lawyer Chuck Davidow, to Paul Weiss (DC), from WilmerHale.
Another loss for WilmerHale — on top of the previously reported departure of Paul Eckert for the White House Counsel’s Office.
Why are so many partners leaving WilmerHale? A Hillary Clinton administration is still two years away.
* IP lawyer Joseph Gioconda, to DLA Piper (New York), from Kirkland & Ellis.
* Corporate lawyer Eric Lerner, to Kramer Levin, from Katten Muchin Rosenman.
* Tax lawyer Thomas Giegerich, to McDermott Will & Emery (NY), from Dewey Ballantine (about to merge with Orrick to form Dewy Orifice).
New Partners:
* Bryan Cave: Eleven new partners. Names here.
Due to the sheer number of links today, we’ve placed them after the jump.

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