Friday, April 27, 2012

Dewey & LeBoeuf ( update as of late Sunday evening - 4/29 . ... Dewey has ended talks with Greenberg Traurig. Steven Davis terminated from five person office of the chairman and executive committee. Merger talks allegedly continuing with other firms as deadline to extend 100 million revolver looms monday - note as of a recent internal firm memo released to the press , Dewey may be close to securing a 90 - 120 day extension of the revolver - further note the lenders initially only offered 7 days but the debt issues are just too complex for that length of time... Also note the extension while progressing has not been completed yet. Further note departures up to 77 partners. Latest merger partners are SNR Denton and Patton Boggs ) Friday Round Up . The five person office of the Chairman has been quiet - then again , the revelation today that some partners of the firm have allegedly gone to the District Attorney's office and are requesting that the DA bring criminal charges ( depending on the article in question , the charges could be sought against the former Chairman ). Similarly , It is not clear whom the preliminary criminal probe is targeting at this point. Note the accounts vary as to what is at issue concerning any partners ( does this include former or just present partners ) . Correspondingly , the accounts differ as to whether Managers at the firm misled the aggrieved partners or whether crimes such as embezzlement , wire fraud , mail fraud and / or other criminal activity occurred and whom is guilty of what. Four questions for now - Is there any way a merger could occur at this point , pre-pack bankruptcy or otherwise ? Second , how does this impact on the negotiiations concerning the 100 million revolver - does the fact of the criminal probe by the DA's office trigger / breach any covenants for the various lenders ? Third - regarding the 125 million in bonds issued to insurance companies by Dewey - does the criminal allegations and preliminary probe trigger / breach any covenants there as well ? Fourth , will payroll on April 30th be met ? This thread will be updated over the weekend if / when additional relevant information becomes available.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/dewey-leboeuf-ousts-ex-head-steven-h-davis/
( looks like the latest two potential merger partners are SNR Denton and Patton Boggs )


The firm also told its partners on Sunday that merger talks with Greenberg Traurig, a rival firm, were terminated without a deal being reached.
Dewey’s leadership had been trying to structure a prearranged bankruptcy filing in which it would combine with Greenberg Traurig, one of the nation’s largest law firms, and avoid liquidation.
A bankruptcy filing by Dewey would be the largest law firm bankruptcy in United States history.
The firm employed about 2,000 people at the beginning of the year — roughly half lawyers and the rest support staff, including paralegals, secretaries and mailroom clerks.
But Dewey’s leadership also said that it was talking to other law firms about potential deals throughout the weekend.
“We are in discussions with other firms about a possible transaction and will consider those and other options for the firm moving forward,” the memo said.
Those firms are SNR Denton and Patton Boggs, according to a person with direct knowledge of the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss them publicly.
Several Dewey partners defected to Patton Boggs earlier this month.
A spokesman for Patton Boggs declined to comment. A spokesman for SNR Denton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
and...


http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/29/us-dewey-idUSBRE83S0CR20120429


(Reuters) - Embattled law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf said on Sunday it removed its former chairman from various leadership positions amid a probe by the Manhattan district attorney and said that talks with rival firm Greenberg Traurig about a potential transaction ended with no deal.

According to an internal firm memo obtained by Reuters, Dewey's executive committee voted to oust Steven Davis from its ranks and remove him from a five-member management team put in place during a leadership shakeup last month. The firm's management also disclosed that talks with Greenberg Traurig had ended.

"We are in discussions with other firms about a possible transaction and will consider those and other options for the firm moving forward," the memo said.

Dewey, saddled by high debt, has been considering filing bankruptcy as a vehicle to merge with or be acquired by one or more firms.

A person close to the firm told Reuters before news of Davis's ouster, that Dewey was close to securing a 90- to 120-day extension of roughly $75 million in loan debt due on Monday, providing a temporary reprieve on a default that could trigger a bankruptcy.
In the internal memo, Dewey's management said the decision to remove Davis from his leadership position was unrelated to the end of talks with Greenberg Traurig. It also said the move should not be read as a judgment on the merits of the district attorney's probe.

"The executive committee felt it was in the best interests of the firm to take this action," the memo said.

Davis had previously been the firm's chairman, but became part of a five-member "office of the chairman" in March, after Dewey overhauled its leadership structure. Davis has now effectively been removed from all leadership positions.

In an e-mail to partners Sunday obtained by Reuters, Davis said he was "saddened" by the committee's decision, and said he had done his best to "navigate the firm through challenging and turbulent times."

"My decisions as chairman were made in good faith and in the firm's best interests," Davis said. "I trust as this process continues, a dispassionate and disinterested review of the facts will confirm that I have not engaged in any misconduct."

The move comes two days after the firm disclosed the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had opened an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by Davis. A source familiar with the probe said a preliminary investigation was prompted after a group of Dewey partners asked Vance to examine "financial irregularities" at the firm.

About 77 of Dewey's 300 partners have left the firm this year amid Dewey's financial turmoil. The firm hired several high-profile attorneys last year and has struggled to afford the full compensation of other partners.

Greenberg Traurig in a statement on Sunday confirmed that talks with Dewey had ended.

"Dewey is a firm we hold in high regard with many fine lawyers, though we never considered a merger," Greenberg Traurig CEO Richard Rosenbaum said in the statement.

NEARING AN EXTENSION
Dewey is close to securing a long-term extension on a Monday deadline on $75 million owed under a credit line to lenders led by JPMorgan Chase & Co, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The extension, likely in the 90- to 120-day range, would stave off a default that could trigger a bankruptcy, said the person, who declined to be named because talks are private.
The banks have offered a term sheet for the extension, but the sides are still trying to hash out details, including the length of the extension and the nature of covenant terms proposed by the banks, the person said.
The lending core also includes Bank of America Corp, Citigroup and HSBC Holdings.
Lenders had initially offered a one-week extension, but that idea was shelved when parties decided it would not provide enough time for the firm to work out its underlying debt issues.
A spokesman for Dewey declined to comment on discussions with the banks.
A spokesman for JPMorgan declined to comment. A lawyer for the lenders did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Writing by Nick Brown; Editing by Leslie Adler)

and.....




http://www.4-traders.com/news/Law-firm-Dewey-dumps-executive-talks-with-rival-end--14302581/?countview=0


Law firm Dewey dumps executive; talks with rival end

04/29/2012 | 03:54pm

Embattled law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf said on Sunday it removed its former chairman from various leadership positions amid a probe by the Manhattan district attorney and said that talks with rival firm Greenberg Traurig about a potential transaction ended with no deal.


According to an internal firm memo obtained by Reuters, Dewey's executive committee voted to oust Steven Davis from its ranks and remove him from a five-member management team put in place during a leadership shakeup last month. The firm's management also disclosed that talks with Greenberg Traurig had ended.
"We are in discussions with other firms about a possible transaction and will consider those and other options for the firm moving forward," the memo said.
Dewey, saddled by high debt, has been considering filing bankruptcy as a vehicle to merge with or be acquired by one or more firms.
A person close to the firm told Reuters on Sunday that Dewey was close to securing a 90- to 120-day extension of roughly $75 million in loan debt due on Monday, providing a temporary reprieve on a default that could trigger a bankruptcy.
In the internal memo, Dewey's management said the decision to remove Davis from his leadership position was unrelated to the end of talks with Greenberg Traurig. It also said the move should not be read as a judgment on the merits of the district attorney's probe.
"The executive committee felt it was in the best interests of the firm to take this action," the memo said.
Davis had previously been the firm's chairman, but became part of a five-member "office of the chairman" in March, after Dewey overhauled its leadership structure. Davis has now effectively been removed from all leadership positions.
In an e-mail to partners Sunday obtained by Reuters, Davis said he was "saddened" by the committee's decision, and said he had done his best to "navigate the firm through challenging and turbulent times."
(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Writing by Nick Brown; Editing by Leslie Adler)




http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-29/dewey-leboeuf-said-to-end-merger-talks-with-greenberg-law-firm


Dewey LeBoeuf LLP, the New York law firm struggling to survive after more than 70 lawyers left in recent weeks, has ended talks with a potential merger partner, Greenberg Traurig LLP, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The firm told members of the end of negotiations in an internal memorandum that also announced that Steven Davis, its former chairman, has been terminated as a member of the five- person chairman’s office and the executive committee.
The firm plans to continue merger talks with other firms as it faces a deadline tomorrow with banks over whether to extend a $100 million line of credit, according to the memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.
The New York-based firm is said to be under investigation by the New York District Attorney related to payments to partners.

and.....

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304050304577374040928041960.html



Leaders of law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP have called off discussions about a possible transaction with struggling New York firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, which is looking for a lifeline amid heavy debts and an exodus of partners.
The firm, however, remained in talks to cherry-pick certain Dewey attorneys and practice groups, according to a person familiar with the situation.
A Greenberg Traurig spokeswoman said the 1,700-lawyer firm had recently discontinued discussions with Dewey & LeBoeuf, but that she couldn't comment on "speculation and rumors" regarding recruitment of individual partners.
"Dewey is a firm we hold in high regard, with many fine lawyers, though we never considered a merger," Greenberg Traurig's chief executive, Richard A. Rosenbaum, said Sunday.
Dewey's leadership told the firm's staff that while discussions with Greenberg had ended, it was in talks "with other firms about a possible transaction," according to an internal memorandum reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. "There will be no disruption in the work or service we provide to our clients," it said.
In the memo, the firm also said that Steven Davis, its former chairman, had been removed from the firm's recently formed Office of the Chairman, as well as from its executive committee because it was in the "best interests" of the firm. Late last week, the firm said in another internal memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal that the Manhattan district attorney's office had begun an investigation focused on Mr. Davis.
Mr. Davis couldn't be reached for comment Sunday, and it couldn't be determined who was serving as his lawyer in connection with the matter. The Manhattan district attorney's office has declined to comment.
"No inferences about the outcome of the DA's or the firm's investigation should be taken from this action," Dewey said in its memo on Sunday.
Dewey has been considering a merger with another firm that could involve a prearranged bankruptcy filing, which could allow it to resolve debts and other obligations before being bought. Problems have been deepening at Dewey, which has lost about 70 partners since January amid disputes over compensation, and owes more than $200 million in debt.
A merger or other deal to transfer some of Dewey's most-profitable practices to Greenberg Traurig would have boosted the Miami-founded firm's profile and potentially allowed it to collect on unpaid bills from Dewey clients.
Legal experts have said it would be a risky move for Dewey to open its books to potential suitors, because it would allow other firms to learn which lawyers were pulling in the most money and how much they were paid. They said it would increase the probability that a firm would walk away from a merger and just focus on smaller, specific groups of lawyers.
Dewey & LeBoeuf became one of the largest law firms in New York five years ago when Dewey Ballantine LLP merged with LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae.

So , if the deadline was to be extended to allow for talks with Greenberg to proceed , what does the announced termination of the Greenberg merger talks portend for monday's deadline ......




http://www.law360.com/topnews/articles/335312/dewey-debt-

deadline-postponed-to-allow-for-greenberg-talks

( This would be a surprise - not sure whether this extension

 occurred before or after the news of the DA's investigation 

became public , however , it's hard to believe the lenders unaware  

of the probe. ) On another note , it would appear tax partner 

Joesph Pari has left - allegedly Friday  ... that means Pari joins 

Hershel Wein and 

Fred Gander  as recently departed tax partners

Dewey Debt Deadline Postponed To Allow For Greenberg Talks

Law360, New York (April 27, 2012, 8:06 PM ET) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Holdings PLC and others agreed to briefly extend Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP’s $100 million credit line in order to help the troubled firm work out details for a possible merger with Greenberg Traurig LLP, an inside source told Law360 on Friday.

In what a source familiar with the matter called a “surprise,” the firm’s lenders have agreed to extend Dewey's $100 million revolving credit line for "a couple more weeks." The firm has already drawn $72 million from the credit line, the source said.

and


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-04-16/dewey-leboeuf-sells-125-million-of-debt-as-law-firms-search-for-capital.html

( Background on the 125 million private placement led by - JP Morgan Private Capital. J P Morgan is also one of the banks which Dewey & LeBoeuf is presently attempting to renegotiate the 100 million revolver by April 30th - apart from the revolver , JP Morgan is probably fairly entangled in Dewey , based on the "  .....array of relationships. The more complex the firm is , the more we can offer it. " I bet JP Morgan is choking the bile back mulling those words presently.  )


Dewey & LeBoeuf Issues Bonds to Refinance Debt, as Law Firms Seek Capital

Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP raised $125 million in a bond offering to refinance existing bank debt, a rare action by a U.S. law firm, according to two people familiar with the transaction.
The New York-based, 1,200-attorney firm announced the private placement yesterday without disclosing the amount. Partner Richard Shutran declined to reveal the interest rate for the bonds, saying it was more favorable than the firm’s bank loans.
Debt in a private placement is sold directly to institutional or private investors and isn’t registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Law firms typically rely on bank loans and partners’ contributions to provide capital rather than outside investors, according to bankers and consultants.
“You don’t hear a lot of open talk in the market about firms looking to raise outside capital,” said Kent Zimmermann, a Zeughauser Group consultant. “It could be one of those things that once one or two firms do it with success, the pack will follow.”
Units of banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Barclays Plc and Bank of America Corp. have groups dedicated to law firm lending. In recent years, the banks have bolstered or formed such groups to take advantage of an industry with conservative borrowing habits.

Owning Law Firms


Ethics rules and state laws prohibit non lawyers from owning law firms, which prevents raising capital by selling shares. They must raise money in other ways, said Stephen Gillers, a legal-ethics professor at New York University.

“In the United States, you cannot have non lawyers with ownership interests in law firms, and you cannot have passive equity investments in law firms,” Gillers said. “On the other hand, law firms can borrow money. As long as it’s debt, it’s OK.”

Firms might tap alternative financing sources as they try to expand market share, Zimmermann said.

The Dewey bond buyers were insurance companies, Shutran said, with maturities of three to 10 years. JPMorgan was the placement agent.

Dewey & LeBoeuf is the product of the 2007 merger of Dewey Ballantine with LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae. Clients include Deutsche Bank AG, Walt Disney Co., JPMorgan and MetLife Inc. The firm says it had gross revenue of $914 million in 2009.

Dewey’s Placement


Dewey’s is the first law firm private placement since the credit market seizure and one of just a handful ever, according to more than a dozen bankers, lawyers and consultants.

“They tend not to get a lot of coverage because they are by their nature private,” said Tony Williams, a consultant at London-based Jomati Consultants.
Predecessor Dewey Ballantine issued a private placement in 1990 to fund the firm’s move to a building in Midtown Manhattan, Shutran said.
Private placements offer law firms the chance to borrow for 10 to 15 years instead of the typical bank term of three to five years, said Keith Wetmore, chairman of Morrison & Foerster, a 1,000-lawyer firm based in San Francisco.
“You need a pretty good balance sheet to interest institutional investors.” Wetmore said. “Not every law firm is going to have that.”

The firm issued bonds in 2001 and again in 2002 to refinance debt that had been incurred to finance office build- outs, and may consider another in the future, Wetmore said.

Fees, Covenants


Deterrents include fees, which can exceed $5 million, and loan covenants that may require the borrowers to maintain certain levels of cash flow or profitability, Williams said.

The U.S. rules on law firm ownership are intended to protect the attorney-client relationship, said Gillers of New York University.

“It amounts to the American view that non lawyers should not have ownership or management control of law firms, because that will threaten the devotion of law firms to their clients,” he said.

England and Wales will allow law firms to sell shares on an exchange and merge with companies for the first time in 2011, when a law passed in 2007 goes into effect.

Australia was the first country in the world to allow outside public investments in law firms. In 2007, Melbourne- based Slater & Gordon Ltd. began selling shares.

Bank Loans


U.S. law firms tap banks for revolving credit or term loans. The banks offer business services such as payroll, retirement accounts, currency exchanges and investment advice and loans to law partners.
“We’re not just talking about a credit relationship,” said Sharon Weinberg, managing director at JPMorgan Private Bank and head of the law firm group. “We’re talking about an array of relationships. The more complex the firm, the more we can offer it.”
Law firms have typically weathered the financial recession better than other industries, making them attractive customers to banks, said Jeffrey Grossman of Wells Fargo’s law firm group.
“As revenue decreased, they protected their profitability,” Grossman said. “That’s not what happened to the rest of corporate America.”

Law firms starting in 2007 have fired attorneys, cut pay, delayed start dates for incoming associates, and closed offices and reduced promotions to partner during the recession.

While law firms aren’t rated by rating firms banks create their own models to review the firms’ balance sheets, Grossman said.

‘Investment Grade’


“If law firms were rated, they would typically be investment grade,” he said.

Citigroup has focused on law firm banking for more than 35 years, according to Dan DiPietro, chairman of Citi Private Bank’s law firm group. JPMorgan and Wachovia, now a unit of Wells Fargo, established dedicated law firm groups in the past six years with hires from Citigroup.

More law firms tapped their lines of credit or set up new ones during the credit crisis, said DiPietro. Loans to law firms from Citigroup increased 30 percent in 2008 and another 10 percent in 2009, he said. The bank has about $5 billion of loans outstanding to law firms, he said.

Law firms are increasingly asking their partners for more contributions to fund a firm’s capital, DiPietro said.

“We have entered a period of much greater uncertainty,” DiPietro said. “Firms want to be more conservative. They want more capital to ride through times of uncertainty.”


and.....



http://www.jdjournal.com/2012/04/28/ny-da-office-probing-dewey-leboeuf/

(  First article commenting upon loans possibly being in default due to breach of partner covenants. Also comments on DA probe not being something banks such as JPM / HSBC / CitiGroup and Bank of America - likely demand for repayment may be result as compared with further extensions . )


NY DA Office Probing Dewey & LeBoeuf

According to an email sent by Dewey to its partners on Friday, the firm “learned earlier today” that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has launched a probe into the actions of Steve Davis, current member of Dewey’ management team and former chairman of Dewey.

Industry sources report that a group of Dewey partners had asked the District Attorney Cyrus Vance to look into financial irregularities at the firm. While the scope of the probe is yet unclear, it is related to handling of finance and it has to do with the former chairman of the firm.

What has been learned so far is that prosecutors are investigating whether the leadership of the firm had made misleading statements about payments due to partners. The probe comes just before the last weekend in the hand of Dewey, after which it will need to renegotiate a $100 million revolving debt.

Considering the fact that the firm owes a bank syndicate about $75 million in direct loans from a revolving $100 million loan account set for renewal by the end of April, chances seem slim that the firm would be able to steer itself out of jeopardy.



While comments could not be had on the probe issue from Dewey management, on the off-track, Dewey’s hiring partner, Jonathan Richman, told the media that the firm was cancelling its summer associate program.



According to the memo circulated to partners on Friday, the management of the firm has been in contact with the District Attorney’s office and “intends to cooperate with that Office’s investigation.” The memo also mentioned that two internal lawyers, Seth Farber ad Harvey Kurzweil would conduct “an internal investigation into these allegations.”



The bank syndicate whose deadlines Dewey has to meet is made up of JPMorgan Chase, Citi Private Bank, Bank of America Corp and HSBC Holdings PLC. Considering that all of these banks are in problems of their own with executives being publicly taken to task by shareholders, it is doubtful that any would extend a helping hand bypassing formal requirements.



As things stand now, industry experts are of the opinion that most of the original loan agreements with Dewey may be already under default due to Dewey failing to maintain the percentage of partners stipulated by such agreements.


A DA Office probe into financial irregularities at this moment is rather akin to sounding of the death knell, since the publicly available information cannot be ignored by bankers, and the banks may be compelled to demand repayment instead of renewing the loans.

It’s not that the firm management has not considered the possibility and it has retained a noted bankruptcy attorney for handling anticipated demise of business. Most star partners have already jumped ship throughout 2012 leaving gaping holes in Dewey’s market collateral.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/28/us-law-dewey-leboeuf-idUSBRE83Q16D20120428

(  Initial Saturday news - Greenberg merger appears dead in the water as per comment from Greenberg source. Dewey Management responds internally to partners to DA investigation - DA's  investigation could be focused not just on former Chairman Davis , but also Dewey leadership  , memo promptly leaked to the press . )


(Reuters) - New York prosecutors are looking into allegations of wrongdoing by a key leader of the troubled law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, according to an email sent by firm management to partners on Friday.

The memo, a copy of which was provided to Reuters, stated that the firm "learned earlier today" that the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has launched a probe into the actions of Steven Davis, formerly the firm chairman and now part of a five-member management team.

A source familiar with the probe said a preliminary investigation was prompted after a group of Dewey partners asked District Attorney Cyrus Vance to examine "financial irregularities" at the firm. The scope of the investigation remains unclear.

Another source familiar with the matter said prosecutors are investigating whether Dewey leadership made misleading statements about payments due to partners.

Davis did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Martin Bienenstock, another member of the management team, declined to comment. A spokesman for the firm, Angelo Kakolyris, also did not respond to requests for comment.
*     *     *    * 

News of the probe comes just days before Dewey faces a deadline to renegotiate the terms of a $100 million line of credit.

The firm owes roughly $75 million to a bank group led by JPMorgan Chase that also includes Citi Private Bank, Bank of America Corp and HSBC Holdings PLC.

Jonathan Richman, Dewey's hiring partner, said Friday that the firm was cancelling its summer associate program, an indication that the firm was curtailing hiring plans. He declined to comment on how many law students would be affected by the decision.

The firm has retained a bankruptcy attorney to consider restructuring options. One possibility is a prepackaged bankruptcy that would involve merging with another firm. Greenberg Traurig has said it had "preliminary discussions" related to Dewey but has not elaborated. On Friday, Greenberg said the firm had not made any commitments or agreements and was not involved in Dewey's "financial situation or relationships."

Last year, Dewey hired a number of high-profile, highly compensated attorneys but has been unable to pay many of its long-tenured partners full compensation in recent months, according to two partners who have left.

According to the firm's memo to partners, Dewey has been in contact with the District Attorney's office and "intends to cooperate with that Office's investigation." The memo also said that two Dewey lawyers, Harvey Kurzweil and Seth Farber, would "conduct an internal investigation into these allegations."



http://abovethelaw.com/2012/04/dewey-have-any-updates-some-say-silence-is-deafening/



On Thursday morning, while talking to my therapist — no, not the People’s Therapist — I mentioned that I’ve been quite busy at work these days, covering the fast-moving story of a law firm implosion. I started to explain, but he interrupted.
“You mean Dewey?” he asked. “I know all about it. An old friend of mine is a partner there. He just asked me for a referral.”
Sign #1 that a law firm story has gone mainstream: your shrink knows about it. Sign #2: it’s getting covered by esteemed general-interest outlets like Slate and the Economist. (In Slate, Reynolds Holding argues that the experience of Ruden McClosky, the Florida firm that pulled off the bankruptcy-cum-merger maneuver last year, could provide helpful lessons for Dewey.)
Aside from a report that some partners want criminal charges brought against chairman Steven H. Davis, as noted in Morning Docket, things have been relatively quiet on the Dewey front over the past day or two. Perhaps too quiet, for some people….
According to Am Law Daily, some at Dewey are disappointed by the fairly limited information that the five-person office of the chairman is providing to the rest of the firm:One European-based Dewey partner told The Am Law Daily Wednesday that the firm’s newly created “office of the chairman” — a five-partner team that includes bankruptcy expert Martin Bienenstock, corporate department head Richard Shutran, and global head of litigation Jeffrey Kessler — “is silent now; it’s been like that for a few days.” This partner, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said that Steven Davis, the deposed Dewey chairman who is also a member the new five-person leadership team, has not been seen in London despite the late March announcement that he was relocating there to focus on Dewey’s international offices.

Are firm leaders too busy working on a possible merger with Greenberg Traurig? That seems improbable, since a merger seems improbable:

One top Greenberg partner told The Am Law Daily Wednesday that a full merger with Dewey is unlikely, and that the firm will most likely seek to “cherry-pick internationally” to bolster its own presence abroad, which currently consists of outposts in London, Milan, Rome, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, and Mexico City. (Several of those offices are affiliates rather than fully integrated offices.)
The same Greenberg partner, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that many of Dewey’s remaining U.S.–based “heavy-hitters” are not likely to join Greenberg as the latter already has significant expertise in their practice areas.

Yesterday afternoon, while communicating with GT for another story, I asked the firm if there were any updates on the Dewey talks. Greenberg sent over this statement (consistent with its prior public comments):


We have had preliminary discussions relating to lawyers at Dewey LeBoeuf but we have made no commitments, have not reached agreements and have had no involvement in the firm’s financial situation or relationships. We continue to focus on our unique strategy and have maintained our discipline, having grown the firm from 3 lawyers to over 1700 lawyers in 29 US locations and 5 overseas markets without ever having done a merger. This focus allows us to consider a range of quality opportunities in a challenging world on a regular basis.

Let’s read between the lines. If Greenberg takes pride in having flourished “without ever having done a merger,” would they be inclined to enter into a merger now? Perhaps not — especially if, as reported by Ashby Jones and Jennifer Smith in the Wall Street Journal, the Dewey name would have to come first in the new name of the post-merger entity.

*  *   *   * 
and.....

http://www.law360.com/topnews/articles/334828/dewey-partners-press-da-to-bring-charges-against-firm-head-



Dewey Partners Press DA To Bring Charges Against Firm Head


Law360, New York (April 26, 2012, 8:53 PM ET) -- A group of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP partners has asked the New York district attorney to bring criminal charges against the chairman of the tottering firm, which could close its doors as early as next week, a source familiar with the matter said Thursday.


The source told Law360 that an undisclosed number of partners from Dewey asked the New York County district attorney to charge Chairman Steven H. Davis with embezzlement, wire fraud, mail fraud and other criminal activity.


Dewey, which has lost nearly 20 percent of its partnership this year, has...

and.....

http://abovethelaw.com/2012/04/we-dont-have-any-summer-associates-dewey-and-additional-info-about-a-possible-criminal-probe/



Elie here. In news that should shock no one, Dewey & LeBoeuf has canceled its 2012 summer program. Honestly, if you were a 2L who was planning on going to Dewey this summer and you are just now figuring out that it’s not going to happen, you should probably spend more time reading Above the Law and less time sniffing glue. (Pro tip: sniffing glue + reading ATL = total awesomeness.)
We’ve also got some additional information about a possible criminal probe into the Dewey situation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. (We briefly considered the headlines “Dewey Have Any Lube for this Probe?” or “Dewey Know Any Good Criminal Defense Lawyers?”)
Let’s get into it. I’ll turn the floor over to Lat….
UPDATE (5:25 PM): Additional info, appended after the jump.
Lat here. We don’t know a lot about the contours of any possible criminal inquiry (which was first reported last night by Law 360). Here’s an account from Bloomberg:
Dewey & Leboeuf LLP, the New York law firm fighting to stay alive after more than 70 partners left, is the subject of a criminal probe by state prosecutors into whether managers misled partners about payments due them, a person familiar with the matter said.
The investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is in a preliminary stage and has yet to determine whether a crime has been committed, said the person, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public.
As the ABA Journal points out, the Law360 and Bloomberg accounts agree that the Manhattan DA’s office might delve into L’Affaire Dewey, but differ in the particulars:
Law360, relying on an unnamed source, says a group of discontented partners called the New York County District Attorney’s office seeking a criminal probe of [former chairman Steven H.] Davis. And Bloomberg, also relying on an unnamed source, is reporting the DA has begun a preliminary criminal probe involving the law firm. A probe at the preliminary stage means there has been no determination whether any crimes were committed.
According to the Law360 account, Dewey lawyers were surprised to learn at an October partner meeting that Davis signed more than 100 contract guarantees for some partners, including his friends, apparently without any management oversight. The source also alleged that Davis cashed out his personal capital in the firm in violation of contract agreements.
Bloomberg’s story says investigators are examining whether managers misled partners about payments due them.
In either case, someone at Dewey could be in deep dew-dew.
UPDATE (5:25 PM): Additional info, from the WSJ Law Blog:
According to [an internal Dewey] memorandum, the investigation is focusing largely on the firm’s former chairman, Steven H. Davis, who led the firm from 2003 until several weeks ago, when his responsibilities were diminished in a management shakeup. A call to Mr. Davis at his office was not immediately returned.
The firm has asked two of its lawyers, Harvey Kurzweil and Seth Faber, to conduct an internal investigation into the situation, the memorandum said.
“In addition, we have been in contact with the District Attorney’s Office and have told the District Attorney’s Office that the Firm intends to cooperate with that Office’s investigation,” according to the memorandum.
The news on Dewey’s summer associate program is more final and more sobering. This is from the memo that Dewey sent out to its former would-be summer associates:
Over the last few weeks, we have received calls from law students asking about Dewey & LeBoeuf’s plans for our 2012 summer associate program in light of the ongoing press coverage of the firm’s restructuring. We have, throughout this time, remained hopeful that we would be in a position to welcome our summer class to the firm. While each of our practice groups continues to achieve major accomplishments in the nation’s most exciting deals and cases, we have concluded after careful consideration that we should not proceed with our 2012 summer program.
It’s true that Dewey, to its credit, continues to serve its clients during this time of crisis. But query whether the “major accomplishments” spin will be appreciated by law students who just learned, right before finals, that they’re out of jobs (in an economy that’s still a bit rough).
Next week is a big one for Dewey, with Monday as the firm’s deadline for renegotiating its debt. If you have information to share with us about Dewey, please email us or text us (646-820-8477).

DEWEY & LEBOEUF — MEMORANDUM — CANCELED SUMMER PROGRAM
Over the last few weeks, we have received calls from law students asking about Dewey & LeBoeuf’s plans for our 2012 summer associate program in light of the ongoing press coverage of the firm’s restructuring. We have, throughout this time, remained hopeful that we would be in a position to welcome our summer class to the firm. While each of our practice groups continues to achieve major accomplishments in the nation’s most exciting deals and cases, we have concluded after careful consideration that we should not proceed with our 2012 summer program.
We did not arrive at this decision lightly. We actively recruited you because you are a highly accomplished individual from one of the best law schools in the country, and we believe that you will have a successful career in the law. We are disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to work with you this summer.
and....

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/where_is_deweys_one-time_chairman/


Where Is Dewey’s Onetime Chairman? Unnamed Sources Tell of Criminal Probe, Though Details Differ

Posted Apr 27, 2012 1:52 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The onetime leader of troubled law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf lost his lock on the chairman’s office in March, when four other lawyers were appointed to help him run the law firm.
Steven Davis was said at the time to have co-equal powers with the four other lawyers. He would be moving to London to focus on the firm’s international offices, the reports said. But Davis hasn’t been seen in London, the Am Law Daily reported Wednesday. And the new leadership team has fallen silent.
But someone is talking to Law360 (sub. req.) and Bloomberg News, and the reports suggest the rift at the troubled BigLaw firm has reached an unprecedented level. Law360, relying on an unnamed source, says a group of discontented partners called the New York County District Attorney’s office seeking a criminal probe of Davis. And Bloomberg, also relying on an unnamed source, is reporting the DA has begun a preliminary criminal probe involving the law firm.
A probe at the preliminary stage means there has been no determination whether any crimes were committed.
According to the Law360 account, Dewey lawyers were surprised to learn at an October partner meeting that Davis signed more than 100 contract guarantees for some partners, including his friends, apparently without any management oversight. The source also alleged that Davis cashed out his personal capital in the firm in violation of contract agreements.
Bloomberg's story says investigators are examining whether managers misled partners about payments due them.
Erin Duggan, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, declined to comment when contacted by the ABA Journal. And Dewey spokesperson Angelo Kakolyris didn’t immediately return an ABA Journal phone call seeking comment.
Subsequent Reuters and Wall Street Journal Law Blog articles provide additional details.
Last updated at 4:28 p.m. to link to Wall Street Journal Law Blog article.
and....

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/04/27/manhattan-da-investigates-former-dewey-leboeuf-chairman/


The Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating possible wrongdoing at the embattled New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, according to an internal firm memorandum reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
According to the memorandum, the investigation is focusing largely on the firm’s former chairman, Steven H. Davis, who led the firm from 2003 until several weeks ago, when his responsibilities were diminished in a management shakeup. A call to Mr. Davis at his office was not immediately returned.
The firm has asked two of its lawyers, Harvey Kurzweil and Seth Faber, to conduct an internal investigation into the situation, the memorandum said.
“In addition, we have been in contact with the District Attorney’s Office and have told the District Attorney’s Office that the Firm intends to cooperate with that Office’s investigation,” according to the memorandum.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Erin Duggan, declined to comment.
The 1000-lawyer law firm, is currently facing a host of financial problems, and in recent days has been weighing a bankruptcy filing, according to people familiar with the matter. The firm has also recently explored a handful other options, including a variety of merger scenarios.

Since the start of the year, some 70 partners have left the firm, largely over disputes concerning pay, taking with them millions of dollars in business. The firm has also drawn down about $75 million on a $100 million credit line issued by a syndicate of banks. It is currently in eleventh-hour discussions with the banks to renegotiate the terms of the loan.
Dewey also owes at least $125 million to insurance companies that purchased a private bond the firm floated in 2010, according to ex-partners and people familiar with the matter.
A merger, or bankruptcy, would mark a striking turn for a firm that became one of the largest in New York five years ago with the linkup of two storied firms. With projected revenues of around $1 billion, the resulting Dewey & LeBoeuf sought to wrestle corporate work away from the elite Wall Street firms that dominate the market.
The firm aggressively recruited star lawyers and their big books of business, but was hampered by sagging demand for legal services in the wake of the financial crisis. This year saw a stream of partner departures, rooted in compensation promises made to some lawyers recruited by the firm that cut into money available to pay others.