Musical Chairs

Today we’ll give you a double dose of Dewey. This morning we published an eloquent email from a Dewey paralegal, which looked at the story from a human-interest perspective. Now we shall return to the business aspects of the crisis.

Last week, we mentioned that tax partners Fred Gander and Hershel Wein were in talks to leave Dewey. Those talks have come to fruition: Gander is heading to KPMG, where he will lead its U.S. tax practice for Europe and the Middle East, and Wein is joining him there.

Now let’s look at the big picture: Dewey’s looming debt deadline, and the possible rescue by Greenberg Traurig….

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Here in New York, the theater community is gearing up for the Tony Award season. Which shows will snag coveted nominations for best musical and best play?

In the world of Biglaw, though, there’s no competing with the drama now unfolding at Dewey & LeBoeuf, the once elite and now rapidly imploding law firm. Thus far, the story of Dewey has been dynamic but depressing, more tragedy than comedy.

But might that change? Could the tale of D&L end happily, like a Shakespearean comedy — with a wedding?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Have A Suitor? Plus Another Confirmed Partner Defection, and Discussion of Deferrals”

A few years ago, at a conference hosted by Penn APALSA, I had the pleasure of meeting Dean Jim Chen of the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. He gave a luncheon keynote address that was deeply thoughtful and inspiring. Attendees of the conference were quite impressed.

Students and staff at U of L have also praised Dean Chen. And he does have achievements to crow about (besides, of course, his glittering résumé and impressive record of scholarship). In the most recent U.S. News law school rankings, the Brandeis School of Law climbed 11 spots (from 100 to 89).

When law schools fall in the rankings, their deans often follow. But U of L fared well in the latest rankings. So why is Dean Chen departing?

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What must it be like right now to be working at Dewey & LeBoeuf? One imagines a lot of whispered conversations, furrowed brows, and closed office doors. It’s a difficult and stressful time at D&L. To our friends at Dewey, keep your chins up (but, at the same time, do what you need to do to protect yourself and your career).

The anxiety at Dewey is increased by the firm’s cash crunch. Lawyers and staff at the firm are having a harder time doing their jobs because certain resources aren’t available to them.

Even in the digital age, with so many documents transmitted electronically rather than physically, FedEx is still a mainstay at major law firms — but not at Dewey. “We are restricted from using the account and now have to rely on UPS or express mail for overnights,” a source at Dewey told us. “Even if a package is labeled to go out via FedEx, when it goes down to mailroom it is relabeled for one of our new shipping methods. Do you know any other company that can stay afloat without FedEx?”

Will Dewey be staying afloat? Let’s hear the latest about other services that D&L lawyers and staff can’t use, some possible partner departures, and the firm’s ambitious plan for saving itself — via bankruptcy….

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(Plus more potential defections, and bankruptcy planning.)”

It’s time for your daily dose of Dewey & LeBoeuf news. There’s a lot to cover, including updates about incoming associates, overseas offices, and contingency planning.

Word on the street is that Dewey is deferring incoming associates to January 2013. We reached out to the firm for comment, and they haven’t gotten back to us yet. But it seems logical for the firm to defer associates to early 2013, given how the situation at D&L remains in flux. By next year, Dewey will have a better sense of its ultimate size and its long-term associate needs.

Of course, incoming associates at Dewey might want to make some backup plans. Which brings us to the other D&L news….

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New Yorkers: you can have this house for the cost of a one-bedroom in Queens.

We will admit to some bias in Lawyerly Lairs, our column about the fabulous homes of lawyers all across this great land. As you may have noticed, Lairs coverage focuses disproportionately on the East Coast and the West Coast. Most recently we’ve written about a $10 million beach house in Malibu, a $3 million condo in Manhattan, a $10 million mansion in Brooklyn Heights, and a variety of properties in Washington, D.C.

So we’re going to try something different today. We’re heading to the heartland, where there are some major real estate bargains to be had.

Have you ever fantasized about selling your $500,000 (or $1 million or $2 million) home in an expensive coastal city, buying a $250,000 place in a less expensive part of the country, and pocketing the difference (so you can live off it for a while)? Keep reading….

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Last week, we discussed the effort by Dewey & LeBoeuf to hold on to departing partners by enforcing its 60-day notice requirement. Partners that leave without complying with the requirement can miss out on profit distributions.

Alas, the response of many partners seems to be, “So what?” Yesterday brought word of about eight partners leaving Dewey. And since our story this morning about Dewey’s tax-time troubles, even more defections have been announced.

So who are the latest lawyers to leave, and where are they going?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey Have A Way To Stop The Partner Hemorrhaging? Energy Lawyers Exit”

Today, as you probably know, is the deadline for filing your taxes. As was the case last year, the combination of April 15 falling on a weekend and the little-known holiday of Emancipation Day pushed the filing deadline back a bit.

Did you appreciate the extra time to fill out your tax return? Partners at Dewey & LeBoeuf probably did, due to some problems with their K-1 forms.

And speaking of partners at Dewey, their numbers continue to decline. Let’s look at the latest defections, as well as the tax issue.

UPDATE (10:30 AM): The game of musical chairs continues. Six more Dewey departures, which we learned about shortly after publishing this post, after the jump.

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Professor Brian Tamanaha

* Professor Brian Tamanaha: “Not since 1986-1987 have law schools seen total applicant numbers this low.” Good news, or bad news? Actually, a bit of both. [Balkinization via Instapundit]

* Musical chairs: Michael Chepiga, the retired Simpson partner and erstwhile Broadway playwright, has a new and unusual job. [Am Law Daily]

* Elsewhere in job switches, the law schools at Albany and the University of Missouri (Columbia) have announced new deans. [Faculty Lounge]

* Goldman bankers don’t want to own shares in a company connected with sex trafficking. They just want to enjoy its services like normal paying customers. [Dealbreaker]

* One Chicago court seems to think it can quash the social media revolution. #goodluckwiththat [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Elsewhere in social-media news, thank God for this ruling. Otherwise, everyone we know would be fired and in jail. [WSJ Law Blog]

* If you still aren’t on Twitter, here’s another reason you should jump on the bandwagon. You never know when your boyfriend might get kidnapped in South Africa and thrown in the trunk of a car, and you have to tweet the kidnappers’ license plate so he can be rescued. [Ars Technica]

* Speaking of Twitter, this is unacceptable behavior (unless you’re a federal judge from Montana). [Fashionista]

Back in February, we wondered about the fate of Baker & McKenzie’s San Diego office. Word on the street was that the office might be closing.

We now have an update on those reports….

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