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: Law Blog - WSJ.com

More Partners Leave Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP

By Jennifer Smith

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By Jennifer Smith and Ashby Jones

Six more partners have decided to leave top New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, which has seen a flow of defections since the start of the year.

The latest departures come just days after the firm's leadership, including chairman Steven Davis, gave a pep talk to partners at a monthly meeting encouraging them to stay and telling them that the firm's financial position is strong. Nonetheless the firm has said it expected additional departures, following the loss of 12 partners from its insurance practice, a traditional stronghold of the firm.

Among the latest departures, according to the firm: John Pruitt and Cynthia Shoss, the co-heads of the firm's insurance regulatory practice, and Jeffrey Mace, head of the firm's Lloyd's of London practice.

Also leaving: James Dwyer, the head of Dewey & LeBoeuf's Chicago office, and tax partners Bruce Wright and Linda Sciuto. The six are decamping to the law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

Mr. Pruitt, Mr. Wright and Ms. Sciuto could not immediately be reached for comment. Ms. Shoss and Mr. Dwyer declined to comment. Mr. Mace confirmed the move but declined to comment further. The head of Sutherland Asbill, Mark Wasserman, declined to comment.

Those exits, confirmed by a Dewey & LeBoeuf spokesman on Friday afternoon, bring the total number of departures to at least 36 since January. Firm leaders have said that some partners who have already left were asked to go because of underperformance.

In early March, Dewey had announced plans to cut lawyers and administrative staff, following lower than expected profits in 2011.

Responding to requests for comment, the firm called the recent departures "regrettable" but said they would not have "a material impact on firm finances this year, nor will it affect the compensation budget."

It added the firm "is poised to have a very good economic year. We have a strong and deep bench as is evidenced by the results our professionals are producing for our clients and the firm."

Several former partners have said some recent departures were prompted by internal disputes over compensation within the 1,100-lawyer firm, a product of a high-profile 2007 merger between two venerable firms Dewey Ballantine LLP and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP.


Full post as published by Law Blog - WSJ.com on March 23, 2012 (boomark / email).

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