I think premium access is just signing up with an email address. I know i don't pay them any cash. Here is the first few paragraphs. I don't want to quote too much.
House of Cards
It only took a few months for Dewey & LeBoeuf to collapse, but the reasons behind its fall were years in the making.
By Julie Triedman, Sara Randazzo, and Brian BaxterAll Articles
The American LawyerJune 27, 2012
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Illustration by Philippe de Kemmeter
Editor's note: This is the first part of a four-part feature that appears in the July/August issue of The American Lawyer.
On February 13 two dozen of the highest-compensated partners at Dewey & LeBoeuf gathered around a conference table at the firm's offices in New York. The meeting had been called by Dewey chairman Steven Davis, who told them again that Dewey could not cover the roughly $250 million it owed partners in guaranteed compensation. The problem, he said, could only be fixed if concessions were made.
The meeting was acrimonious, and before long, the discussion shifted to resentments dating back four years to the merger between LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae and Dewey Ballantine that had created the firm. Davis—who had come from LeBoeuf—demanded to know why Dewey Ballantine's leaders had not told him that, within three months of the merger, the new firm would have to come up with millions of dollars to cover obligations made by Dewey Ballantine. "You guys did not tell us the truth about the merger," Davis yelled, according to a participant at the meeting.
After a while, the argument died down, but tensions remained. Eventually, the group of rainmakers agreed to reset compensation—starting with trimming their own pay. But too much damage had been done. Three months later, on May 28, the firm, once 1,300 lawyers strong, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest U.S. law firm failure ever.
The collapse of Dewey was not just a tragedy for its lawyers and staff. "It's a terrible black eye on the legal profession," says consultant Bradford Hildebrandt, who has had a hand in many firm mergers and restructurings in recent years (though not Dewey's). "It feeds clients' fears about what's going on inside law firms and why costs are so high."
The American Lawyer spoke to nearly three dozen former Dewey partners and staffers for this story. Most, fearful of being drawn into future litigation, spoke only on the condition that they not be named. Except where noted, every assertion in this piece has at least two sources from the firm. We also reviewed past interviews with Dewey's leaders, memos and speeches written by them, copies of the firm's audited financial reports, its bond offering circular, and the merger agreement. In our reporting, we discovered several previously undisclosed episodes, such as the confrontation on February 13. We found, for instance, that millions of dollars had been promised in merger-related bonuses, and that the firm made a fateful decision to dramatically hike compensation literally on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis.
Our conclusion is that Dewey's death was the product of years of bad decisions, and of greed on the part of senior partners. "The ultimate purpose of law firms is to pass on to the next generation a stronger firm," says Hildebrandt. "Here, the most successful and senior partners gave themselves guarantees at the expense of younger partners."
We sent detailed descriptions of assertions in this story to Davis and his second in command, executive director Stephen DiCarmine, and each declined to respond to them. A spokeswoman for Davis directed us to an earlier statement issued in response to news that he was under investigation by prosecutors in Manhattan. "Every action of Mr. Davis as chair of the firm was taken in good faith and in the best interests of the firm," that statement says. "He is confident that fair-minded professionals will conclude that he engaged in no misconduct." DiCarmine, through his attorney, Hughes Hubbard & Reed's Ned Bassen, declined to comment.
When we asked Dewey lawyers about the investigation, they expressed doubt that Davis was criminally culpable, describing him instead as a man who had made a series of poor decisions. Davis and DiCarmine "understood that the firm was all about the money," says one former partner. "What they could never understand is, if that's all that holds a firm together, you have nothing left when the money runs out."