The leaders of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP pointed to the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion as a piece of evidence that the law firm was struggling last spring. The team of lawyers from Dewey who represented the Dodgers have decided to use the sale as a piece of leverage in a settlement with the estate of the firm. The team of lawyers was asked by the estate of the firm to help it collect fees from the sale. As of March Dewey collected just $9 million in fees, according to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
The four lawyers involved are Sidney P. Levinson, Bruce Bennett, Joshua M. Mester and James O. Johnston. They are asking for damage claims of ‘fraud, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and other claims,’ according to a stipulation filed in federal court last week. The stipulation was filed against the law firm, the firm’s executive committee and ‘certain other persons.’
The attorneys, according to the stipulation filing, had special pay deals with the firm that were made in 2011. 2011 is when the firm went on a hiring binge, taking lawyers from firms all over the country. Dozens of lawyers hired were promised compensation set at specific rates no matter what happened to the firm’s finances.
The group of lawyers working on the Dodgers case left Dewey to join Jones Day in May. The stipulation said that the special agreements were terminated by the lawyers on May 13 “based upon DL’s material breaches of its obligations to the Individuals under the Agreements.”
Dewey is looking for a $71 million ‘clawback’ settlement with its ex-partners that would protect it from lawsuits in exchange for some of their earnings from 2011 and 2012. A hearing for the ‘clawback’ request is scheduled for Thursday of this week. Dewey owes anywhere from $315 to $560 million to its landlords, lenders and others. It filed for Chapter 11 protection on May 28.