Dewy Orifice

People in the offices of both Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf Lamb have been gossiping about a possible merger between their firms.
Here’s some circumstantial evidence in support of the rumors. If you go to Whois.Net and enter the domain name DeweyLeBoeuf.com, you get this info:
Dewey Ballantine 2  LeBoeuf Lamb Greene MacRae Above the Law blog.jpg
We have a call and an email in to Michael Groll. We’ll let you know if and when we hear back from him.
Update: Might this be a practical joke, as one commenter suggests? Quite possibly. That’s why we’ve reached out to Mr. Groll for comment.
Further Update (4:45 PM): No, this is the real deal. About an hour after our post went up, the WSJ Law Blog chimed in with this write-up: “LeBoeuf Lamb and Dewey Ballantine are in merger talks, with an announcement of a deal expected as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the situation.”
Further Further Update (8/25/07): The New York Times has an article on the merger talks here.
More discussion, plus links, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Merger Mania: Dewey LeBoeuf? (You Heard It Here First)”

Paul Hastings Tower 2 Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGWe’ve now covered over a third of the Vault 100 law firms in open threads. But that means we still have two-thirds to go (assuming we follow through to the end).
The next five firms are colorful. They include one firm that was featured in the Transformers movie, and another that used to employ a high-priced escort.
For your consideration (in Vault 100 order, prestige scores in parentheses):

31. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker (6.545)
32. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (6.352)
33. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (6.343)
34. Winston & Strawn LLP (6.316)
35. Dewey Ballantine LLP (6.313)

Please gossip away in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30

Aaron Charney headshot Aaron B Charney Aaron Brett Charney Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law ATL.JPG* Last Tuesday, a civil action captioned Aaron Brett Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP was filed in New York Supreme Court — and the world of Biglaw has never been the same ever since. Click here to access the complete archives of our Aaron Charney coverage.
* Of course, Sullivan & Cromwell partners aren’t the only bosses who are jerks challenging (allegedly).
* Don’t forget the Divine Miss C, Shanetta Cutlar, whose delicious reign continues over at the Justice Department’s Special Litigation Section.
Compared to Aaron Charney and Shanetta Cutlar, other topics pale by comparison. But here are other highlights from the past week in legal news:
* Charles “Cully” Stimson apologizes for ranking on Gitmo lawyers.
* In New Orleans, trials get rescheduled for football.
* Barry Ostrager of Simpson Thacher, the renowned business litigator, has poor bathroom manners (or aim).
* The justices of the Michigan Supreme Court just can’t stop squabbling.
* Now we know the real reason — or rather, the 25 million reasons — that the Dewey Ballantine / Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe merger was scuttled.
* Third Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell, who also serves as the First Lady of Pennsylvania, sings a duet with Jon Bon Jovi. We don’t know whether to be delighted or frightened.

When Harry Met Sally 3 Above the Law Orgasm.JPGAfter the much ballyhooed merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe fell apart, many theories were bandied about as to why the deal disintegrated. See, e.g., here.
Now, from a British legal publication, The Lawyer, we get this fascinating report:

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe chairman Ralph Baxter demanded a guaranteed $25m (£12.92m) payout over five years, had the proposed merger with Dewey Ballantine gone through, The Lawyer can reveal.

Orrick’s management drafted an employment agreement for Baxter and Dewey chairman Mort Pierce to sign, which would have committed both partners to the newly merged firm for five years.

Pierce is understood to have refused to sign, prompted by the dissatisfaction of a number of Dewey partners with the terms of the agreement.

The significant remuneration for a non-fee-earning chairman is thought to have contributed to Dewey’s decision to walk away from the merger with Orrick.

Pierce is known to be the highest earner at Dewey, earning an extra $3m (£1.54m) in one year in bonuses alone. But he is also the highest biller, averaging more than 3,000 chargeable hours a year.

Balking at Ralph Baxter’s rich demand is understandable. But in hindsight, one can’t help wonder whether Dewey shouldn’t have just bent over and grabbed its proverbial socks. The DB partners who have walked out the door in the past few weeks probably took with them books of business totalling well over Baxter’s concededly greedy demand.
But the $25 million wasn’t the end of it. Check this out:

For Dewey, the combination of Baxter’s personal demands, which also included unlimited first-class air travel for himself and at least one family member, and the perceived imbalance in terms of post-merger management were the final straw in scuppering a deal that could have produced a $1bn (£514.5m)-turnover firm, which could have been in the global top 10.

Quips an amused tipster: “I laughed when I saw Baxter’s personal demand of unlimited first class travel for him + 1.
Seriously, does he think he’s Gnarls Barkley or what?”
Revealed: Baxter killed Dewey-Orrick merger [TheLawyer.com]

2007.jpgLast week was short, thanks to the New Year’s holiday; but it sure was busy. Here are some highlights from a very momentous week:
* No more jokes about Harriet Miers: the ill-fated ex-SCOTUS nominee has resigned as White House counsel. Speculation about her successor abounds.
* No more jokes about the Dewy Orifice: the ill-fated merger between Dewey Ballantine and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has been called off.
* Turns out that Chief Justice Rehnquist was a painkiller junkie. Once, while suffering withdrawal symptoms, he tried to bust out of a hospital in his PJs.
* Chief Judge David Levi, of the Eastern District of California, will be the new Dean of Duke Law School.
* All About Jan? Just as the aging Margo Channing’s reign over Broadway was threatened by the comely Eve Harrington, the aging Linda Greenhouse’s reign over One First Street is being threatened by the comely Jan Crawford Greenburg.
* Who knew? Law professors and legal bloggers sure know how to party! Photos of drunken legal academics available here and here.
* Cravath partner John Beerbower has enjoyed some amazing apartments over the years. Cravath partnership + Wealthy wife = $20 million, Park Avenue pad.
* Who’s your favorite First Circuit judge? Cast your vote here.
* If you’re a right-winger hoping that Justice Stevens will step down soon, don’t hold your breath.
* Today’s D.C. Circuit: Despite the occasional catfight, it’s not as bitchy as it used to be. Sigh.
* Oppressed law clerks, your Devil Wears Prada is on its way. Coming soon to a bookstore near you: Chambermaid, by former Third Circuit clerk Saira Rao.

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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Closing of the Dewy Orifice: The Announcement Email”

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)

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)

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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Week in Review — Biglaw Bonus Edition: December 11-15″

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