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24 May 2012

Former Dewey partners aim to dodge 'clawback' bullet

More than 50 former Dewey & LeBoeuf partners have instructed a leading 'clawback' claims lawyer in an attempt to prevent the fading New York-based firm seeking money from ex-partners.

In the latest twist of the Dewey saga -- and with firm mulling over bankruptcy options -- the New York Law Journal reports that Mark Zauderer, a partner at New York-based firm Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer, has confirmed he expects to represent the group.


It is reported that the partners – in addition to blocking the firm from seeking money – are also considering claiming against Dewey and its leaders over compensation that may be owed.
The development comes in the wake of some of the highest profile exits from the firm so far, with rainmaker Ralph Ferrara, and a member of the firm’s ‘office of the chairman, Martin Bienenstock, leaving to join New York-based Proskauer Rose.
Mr Ferrara -- Dewey's Washington DC-based co-vice chairman -- was one of the last holdouts at the firm, according to the Am Law Daily web site. He joined Dewey predecessor LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & McRae in a high profile lateral shift from Debevoise & Plimpton, with LeBoeuf allegedly paying him $16 million to offset the fully vested pension he lost in the move, and recreating his Debevoise office down to the paint colour.


Proskauer had already snapped up bankruptcy expert Mr Bienenstock, as well as restructuring partners Mark Fennessy and Hazel Miller.
Nicola Palios on the UK-based internet blog Legal Services Watch speculated that the firm could slip into US bankruptcy proceedings and UK administration by 25 May.

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