Dissolution

Last month, we provided you with detailed information about how much various former partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf earned in the last two years of the firm’s existence. We also reported on how much these partners were each being asked to pay into the “Partner Contribution Plan,” a global settlement that would provide these partners with releases from future Dewey-related liability.

At the time of that report, we didn’t know which partners decided to sign up for the PCP and which ones declined the offer. But now we do, thanks to a recent bankruptcy court filing by Dewey.

Dewey want to know the skinny? Of course we do….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Know Which Partners Signed On To The Partnership Contribution Plan? Yes — And How Much They’ll Pay, Too”

The Dewey & LeBoeuf drama continues to unfold. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, there have been a few notable recent developments. Citibank just filed a vigorous response to allegations by Steven Otillar, a former Dewey partner, that Citi colluded with Dewey to take advantage of individual partners. Meanwhile, three former leaders of the firm — former chairman Steven Davis, former executive director Stephen DiCarmine, and former CFO Joel Sanders — have filed objections to the global settlement with former partners.

It’s not a pretty picture. And here’s what we’re wondering: Could it happen to another major law firm, sometime in the next twelve months?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Know Who’s Next? (Reprise)”

Aww… it’s like a Biglaw version of a sports movie. Firm makes a lawyer softball team. Firm dissolves in an embarrassing mess. Softball team plays on, overcoming hardships to win.

Apparently, that storyline is really happening for the Dewey & LeBoeuf softball team. The scrappy outfit made up of former Dewey lawyers who have been scattered to the wind went 10 – 1 in the Lawyers Coed Softball League.

How did they do it? Do they have a lot of ringers and/or the highest percentage of UVA Law graduates? Maybe they’re just really pissed off that their firm went under?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “And The Softball Team Played On: Dewey’s Softball Team”

Isn’t Jewel v. Boxer a great case name? Doesn’t it sound like one of the classics of the 1L curriculum, right up there with Pierson v. Post, Hawkins v. McGee, and International Shoe?

It is definitely a case that lawyers ought to know. This appellate decision, handed down by a California court in 1984, remains the leading case on how to divvy up attorneys’ fees generated by cases that were still in progress at the time of a law firm’s dissolution. Dewey care about this case? Absolutely.

But Jewel might not maintain its status as the key precedent on so-called “unfinished business,” at least if one judge has anything to say about it. Check out an interesting ruling that just came down from the Southern District of New York, arising out of one of the biggest Biglaw bankruptcies of recent years….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Welcome Ruling for the New Law Firms of Refugees from Bankrupt Firms”

Today at 5 p.m. is the deadline for former partners of the bankrupt Dewey & LeBoeuf law firm to sign up for the “Partner Contribution Plan.” Under the terms of the Plan, which in its latest iteration seeks $90.4 million in “clawbacks” from ex-partners, participating partners would contribute specified amounts to the Dewey bankruptcy estate in exchange for releases from future liability (to the Dewey estate, to other participating partners, and to Dewey lenders, thanks to recent revisions to the PCP).

When talk of the Plan first surfaced, I opined that “[s]uch a deal sounds reasonable in principle.” I later observed that even if the PCP might not be perfect, “[i]f you’re a productive partner, happily ensconced at a new and stable firm, and just want to forget the D&L debacle and return to serving your clients, this deal may Dewey the trick.”

But now, after numerous revisions to the Plan, seemingly endless extensions of the deadline to join, and a still-insufficient amount of participation, I’m beginning to think that maybe it just won’t fly — and Dewey should just be allowed to die, i.e., slip into a straight-up liquidation. Perhaps Dewey’s bankruptcy advisers should stop trying to flog a product that nobody seems interested in buying.

UPDATE (4:35 PM): It looks like the Dewey estate’s perseverance has paid off. The $50 million participation threshold has been reached.

Here’s one good thing about the Partner Contribution Plan: thanks to the PCP, we now have detailed information about how much each of Dewey’s partners received from the firm in 2011 and 2012. And yes, we’re willing to share the data for the top earners with you, in spreadsheet form.

Some people are big believers in the virtues of black-box compensation. But here at Above the Law, we’re all about transparency….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Have Data on How Much Partners Got Paid? Yes — Thanks to the Partner Contribution Plan”

Earlier this week, we wrote about the lavish payments that Dewey & LeBoeuf made to its former executive director, Stephen DiCarmine, and its former chief financial officer, Joel Sanders, in the year leading up to the firm’s bankruptcy filing. Each man received almost $3 million in salary, bonuses, and expense reimbursement. (There’s additional detail and number crunching over at The Lawyer.)

Today we bring you additional interesting information from — and speculation about — the Dewey bankruptcy filings. For starters, who are the two Dewey partners who received more than $6 million each in the year leading up to the Chapter 11 petition?

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(Plus additional tidbits about Dewey partner compensation.)

Yesterday brought some good news for Biglaw’s favorite debtor in possession, Dewey & LeBoeuf. The firm, currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, received an additional two weeks of bankruptcy funding.

That’s the nice news. Now, the nauseating: namely, how much Dewey’s executive director and chief financial officer were paid, as the firm swirled down the drain earlier this year….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Know How Much Firm Managers Received as LeBoeuf Was Being Cooked?”

The mid-year bonuses recently announced at Cahill Gordon and Quinn Emanuel did not come as a huge surprise. Both firms are thriving, and both firms have paid summer bonuses in the past.

But how would you react to news of bonuses at Dewey & LeBoeuf, the once-powerful law firm that declared bankruptcy over Memorial Day weekend? Such news would be more surprising, wouldn’t it?

Dewey pull your leg? No, we’re quite serious….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bonuses Approved at Dewey & LeBoeuf, Despite Bankruptcy Trustee’s Beef With Them”

The story of Dewey & LeBoeuf, the once-great law firm that now finds itself in bankruptcy, continues to unfold — slowly, painfully, and sucked of suspense. We’ve highlighted the latest developments in Morning Docket. They include the hefty compensation paid to Stephen Horvath and Janis Meyer, the two Dewey lawyers involved in wind-down efforts; the $50 million insurance policy that might spell good news to creditors; and the pending revisions to the less-than-popular proposed settlement being offered to former partners of the firm.

That’s the hard news. Today we bring you two bits of color. These anecdotes raise the following question: Would you accept a “gift” from Dewey & LeBoeuf?

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As we noted in Morning Docket, many former partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf are less than pleased with the proposed settlement between the D&L bankruptcy estate and ex-partners of the firm. Preliminary reactions “rang[e] from skepticism to anger,” according to Am Law Daily.

In the words of Mark Zauderer, counsel to almost 60 former Dewey partners, “I’m not seeing overwhelming enthusiasm for the proposal.” A former D&L partner was even more blunt: “I think this is destined to fail. Let the trustee [of a Chapter 7 liquidation] go for it.”

But not everyone holds such negative views. One ex-partner — who claims that he’s being asked to pay more than he thought he owed, and that he’ll have to postpone his retirement by several years due to Dewey’s downfall — told Thomson Reuters that he will vote for the deal anyway. “My view is there’s nothing less desirable than having this drag out for years,” he said. “I’m willing to pay a lot of money to have this go away.”

Dewey have other issues besides how to deal with former partners? Most certainly. There are pressing problems regarding the disposition of client files, as well as issues regarding retirement benefits for former Dewey & LeBoeuf employees….

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(And bad news for D&L 401(k) participants.)

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