John Cobb, a leveraged-finance attorney, has decided to leave his position with Dewey & LeBoeuf to join the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. This move takes place during some very unsettling times at Dewey. Cobb will be a partner in the capital markets practice in the New York office for Weil, Gotshal & Manges after spending time as the leader of the leveraged-finance practice at Dewey. He left Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy for Dewey back in 2009.
It was announced earlier in March that Dewey was going to cut its attorney numbers by five percent, according to chairman Steve Davis. In 2011, the firm gained one percent growth in profits per equity partner. There was an increase of close to eight percent in profits per equity partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in 2011. It has been rumored that partners will be receiving deferred payments while others in the firm will be received reduced compensation amounts in an effort for Dewey to cut costs.
Cobb said that he decided to move to Weil so he could move his practice of law to the ‘next level.’ Cobb also said that moving his practice to Weil will enable him to improve his practice for high-yield capital markets and leveraged lending. He said that his new position at Weil “wasn’t about what’s going on at Dewey.”
When Cobb was asked if others from the leveraged-finance group at Dewey would join him at Weil, he said, “Not immediately. Not at this point. I really can’t comment on that.”
Dewey lost another member of its firm on Tuesday in addition to the loss of Cobb. Sidley Austin hired tax lawyer Michael Duff from Dewey for its office in Los Angeles as a partner. Duff practices federal taxation law, specifically issues relating to renewable energy, infrastructure project finance and partnership taxation. Dewey & LeBoeuf was created in 2007 when the firms of Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae merged. Dewey has 1,000 attorneys in 25 locations, including Washington, London and New York.
Cobb graduated from St. John’s University School of Law before working with the Lehman Brothers. Cobb helps to represent banks, mezzanine funds, issuers and investors in securities and banking transactions. Cobb recently worked on a deal with an initial purchaser for a $225 million high-yield bond transaction for The New York Times Co. Cobb also worked with initial purchasers for $315 million in high-yield notes for YCC Holdings and Yankee Finance Inc.