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Dewey & LeBoeuf Struggling to Stay Afloat
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The leaders at Dewey & LeBoeuf claim that the law firm is operating on a sustainable and viable business course despite evidence to the contrary. So what is that evidence? Some partners have had their compensation deferred either in part or completely at the firm. Since 2012 struck, close to 50 partners have departed the law firm and the firm has a high amount of debt to go along with lower than predicted revenue. According to the leaders at the firm, the reason for the large amount of partners leaving is that the firm decided to downsize in hopes of increasing its profitability.

Richard B. Spitzer, a corporate finance partner, is the latest partner to leave the law firm. Spritzer will be joining the firm of Mayer Brown with two former Dewey partners. Sources from within the legal industry, including a current partner and a former partner from Dewey, say that a couple of more defections from the firm could place it into obscurity. Other from the industry, including legal recruiters, believe that Dewey is headed in the wrong direction and headed there fast. Robert Kinney, from Kinney Recruiting in Texas, said, “A firm’s survival can come down to a very few key individuals.”


Those partners, described as linchpin partners, from Dewey that are important to the firm’s future are the following: Bruce Bennett, corporate partner; Martin Bienenstock, bankruptcy practitioner Bruce Bennett; Ralph Ferrara, regulatory and corporate governance partner; Michael Fitzgerald, securities partner; Jeffrey Kessler, litigator; Morton Pierce, mergers and acquisitions specialist and Berge Setrakian, international business partner.

When 2011 ended, New York-based Dewey employed close to 1,000 lawyers and 300 partners. The firm has $125 million in bond debt and now has to defer portions of compensation to partners, according to unidentified former partners at the law firm. Stay tuned for more news about Dewey as the firm spirals towards obscurity.

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