How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

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LawIdiot86
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:17 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Incoming SA here. The summer is still on. Let's hope they can stabilize the boat because there are nearly 1000 attorneys still working at the firm.


Despite almost being a lawyer, I am still amazed by the profession's inability to recognize patterns or discern probabilities. From seeing the 10% odds of biglaw as worth it to believing professors who say that judges' opinions are guided by higher principles of neutral interpretation, lawyers will buy nearly any crock of crap concerning their own profession. In this case, the idea that the summer is "still on" is fairly laughable. Before you could say that the summer is still on or that they can stabilize the boat, you need to do some math. Dewey has now had 10% of its partners leave the firm on their own free will (they weren't fired or de-equitized).

To be able to establish that it there is a possibility of the firm surviving, you need to look at other NLJ250 firms that have lost 10% or more of their partners and see what percentage of them have survived. I don't know which have survived a 10%+ hit, but http://lawshucks.com/biglaw-dead-pool/ indicates a large number of peers have failed after passing the 10% point (Heller Ehrman; Howrey; Thelen; Thacher Proffitt Wood; WolfBlock; Brobeck; Coudert Brothers; Jenkens & Gilchrist; Arter & Hadden; and Altheimer & Gray). If you can find more than 10 firms that in the last decade have had 10%+ of their partners leave and have survived, then you can have reasonable hope in Dewey stabilizing the boat. If you can't find more than 10, then having hope would be irrational.


way to flame the fire


Sadly, the NLJ doesn't make things like --LinkRemoved-- as easily available as it used to, but I'm sure someone has a subscription or old spreadsheets and could figure out more recent partner departure rates. If you have a Dewey SA and are scared about a no-offer, it's worth the time to figure out the likelihood of dissolution and build that into your personal risk assessment.


A firm that seems to fit in the "survived" category is Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. Apparently in 2003 they lost 44% of their attorneys (they grew from 200 to 350 and fell back to 200) and are still in business today.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:19 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote: If you have a Dewey SA and are scared about a no-offer, it's worth the time to figure out the likelihood of dissolution and build that into your personal risk assessment.

I'm a Class of 2013 Dewy SA and yes I'm scared about a no-offer after the summer and equally scared about the possibility of dissolution before the summer starts or outright cancellation. The firm has reassured us that the summer is on but it all just seems out of control and May feels a long way away.

In fact, a no offer after the SA is really the best option of the three, because at least I get to make some money over the summer and more importantly get some experience to talk about at 3L OCI (which is now mandatory for Dewey SAs no matter what happens over the summer). I'm also scared that things stabilize for a year or two but then the firm goes under when I'm a first or second year associate with little lateral ability.

ITT there have been some helpful posters about maintaining a proper and professional attitude over the summer. Beyond that, and trying to kill it this spring for grades during 3L OCI, what else is there for us to do?

There is one partner among the recently departed group of 12 to Wilkie who was instrumental in me getting an SA - interviewed me, maintained contact throughout the call back process, was on the hiring committee, and I had requested him as a mentor for the summer. Now he's gone, any chance I send him a request for advice and hope that he offers me an SA at Wilkie??? Seems like a long shot, but if the summer IS actually cancelled, there doesn't seem like much else to do.

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Guchster
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Guchster » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There is one partner among the recently departed group of 12 to Wilkie who was instrumental in me getting an SA - interviewed me, maintained contact throughout the call back process, was on the hiring committee, and I had requested him as a mentor for the summer.


I think it's totally appropriate to reach out to him this summer and express continued interest in working for him--citing his work as playing a large part in the reason you wanted to go to Dewey in the first place.

Morgan12Oak
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:36 pm

Lesson from Howrey: things move VERY quickly. Reassurances of a program being run (especially in their full length) are nothing more than temporary. That being said, I wouldn't really panic but taking some steps to put yourself in a position to not be completely screwed in the event of the worst is probably ideal.

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sunynp
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby sunynp » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:38 pm

Guchster wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There is one partner among the recently departed group of 12 to Wilkie who was instrumental in me getting an SA - interviewed me, maintained contact throughout the call back process, was on the hiring committee, and I had requested him as a mentor for the summer.


I think it's totally appropriate to reach out to him this summer and express continued interest in working for him--citing his work as playing a large part in the reason you wanted to go to Dewey in the first place.


Oh no, I wouldn't reach out and ask for an SA at Wilkie, that SA class has been filled. Unless you are so exceptional that Wilkie would love to have you, this isn't going to happen. It is tough enough for partners to negotiate to bring other partners and some associates with them. They aren't going to let him bring in some unknown SA.

I would give it some time and then get in touch. There is so much going on with whatever transition this guy is in, that he doesn't need to be hearing from you now. Unless maybe to just say that you heard he left and had looked forward to working with him. You hope to keep in touch, etc. Kill it at Dewey and then reach out to him again, after you have some good references from the firm.

edit to add- should the summer program at Dewey be cancelled, which I strongly doubt, then I would ask him more directly and bluntly for help.
Last edited by sunynp on Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:39 pm

Morgan12Oak wrote:Lesson from Howrey: things move VERY quickly. Reassurances of a program being run (especially in their full length) are nothing more than temporary. That being said, I wouldn't really panic but taking some steps to put yourself in a position to not be completely screwed in the event of the worst is probably ideal.

I understand completely, and appreciate your advice, but exactly HOW to do this is not exactly clear, especially in advance of the actual summer program.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:41 pm

sunynp wrote:
Guchster wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There is one partner among the recently departed group of 12 to Wilkie who was instrumental in me getting an SA - interviewed me, maintained contact throughout the call back process, was on the hiring committee, and I had requested him as a mentor for the summer.


I think it's totally appropriate to reach out to him this summer and express continued interest in working for him--citing his work as playing a large part in the reason you wanted to go to Dewey in the first place.


Oh no, I wouldn't reach out and ask for an SA at Wilkie, that SA class has been filled. Unless you are so exceptional that Wilkie would love to have you, this isn't going to happen. It is tough enough for partners to negotiate to bring other partners and some associates with them. They aren't going to let him bring in some unknown SA.

I would give it some time and then get in touch. There is so much going on with whatever transition this guy is in, that he doesn't need to be hearing from you now. Unless maybe to just say that you heard he left and had looked forward to working with him. You hope to keep in touch, etc. Kill it at Dewey and then reach out to him again, after you have some good references from the firm.


Thanks - was drafting an email but had not sent it yet, and wasn't DIRECTLY asking for a Wilkie SA, just mentioning that I was looking forward and had been focusing on transactional work this year, etc. If the summer is actually cancelled, I might get more desperate.

Morgan12Oak
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:43 pm

What the poster said above is probably TCR. Reaching out to that partner, keeping in touch, expressing your interest in his type of practice is pretty smart. I wouldn't be overbearing because you don't want to sound like you're doing it solely because Dewey is in trouble.

I would also consider getting some cover letters, etc. ready for mass-mailing prior to 3l OCI.

LawIdiot86
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Morgan12Oak wrote:Lesson from Howrey: things move VERY quickly. Reassurances of a program being run (especially in their full length) are nothing more than temporary. That being said, I wouldn't really panic but taking some steps to put yourself in a position to not be completely screwed in the event of the worst is probably ideal.

I understand completely, and appreciate your advice, but exactly HOW to do this is not exactly clear, especially in advance of the actual summer program.


1. Nail your grades.
1.5. Nail your grades.
2. Build relationships and then line up good professor recs for clerkship apps.
3. Network your ass off via ABA/local bar/alums at other firms.
4. Don't miss early clerkship deadlines (like MD/VA in late April).
5. Pick up other "prizes" like journal board, barrister's competitions/board, CALIs, etc.
6. Line up a good fall internship in the field you want to work in or with a good name (DOJ if you can).
7. Shoot for a clinic during 3L. Usually an easier curve and gives you a good story.
8. Build your database to mail merge at the end of the summer so you maximize 3L OCI.

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sunynp
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby sunynp » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Morgan12Oak wrote:Lesson from Howrey: things move VERY quickly. Reassurances of a program being run (especially in their full length) are nothing more than temporary. That being said, I wouldn't really panic but taking some steps to put yourself in a position to not be completely screwed in the event of the worst is probably ideal.

I understand completely, and appreciate your advice, but exactly HOW to do this is not exactly clear, especially in advance of the actual summer program.

Man the only thing I can think of is to try to quietly see if you have any connection that would give you a job should this one fall apart. That and to step up any networking, whatever, you are doing. You probably stopped doing anything once you had the SA. I would try to go to bar association events, something to be out and meeting people again. Just always keep a poker face when you tell people you are going to be an SA at Dewey.

You pretty much can't do anything until you start your job:
Make sure your work product at Dewey is flawless, be super organized and be out ahead of projects if you can. I mentioned this before but try to find an area of something you can learn a lot about, even if just to give you something substantive to talk about at 3L OCI.

I would also make sure you get some great work product that you will be able to use as writing samples, which can be very difficult to do in client work. I would also keep copies of every document you work on, and start building your own form bank. Not to steal from the firm, but try to get a complete set of documents used in transactions, read them and understand why the provisions are in there.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:21 pm

I would keep in touch with the Willkie partner. They are one of the firms that was particularly aggressive in hiring 3Ls this year.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:54 pm

SA here.

I had several offers and am tempted to reach out to the firms I declined, but have been cautioned against doing so because if it somehow gets back to Dewey, my longterm prospects there are virtually nonexistent.

While I recognize the gravity of the matter, I also think this might all be a little overblown. Nothing has happened yet that was unexpected since the firm's first comment on the situation a couple weeks ago. Things might stabilize once the firm cuts some fat and then looks to move forward in a more responsible manner. Also, even if their content is accurate, the media and law blogs love to sensationalize things.

I also interviewed with one of the partners at Dewey that just left for Willkie, but I don't think it's wise to do anything more than send a friendly e-mail at this point. In fact, I am nervous about contacting anybody with such close ties to Dewey. Word of such things travels quickly and it could inadvertently land in the wrong hands at Dewey. I would be careful about taking this approach until things become more dire.

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sunynp
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby sunynp » Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:55 pm

This doesn't help with this situation - but I found this article about Dewey on this site called Adam Smith Esq, which someone had linked to in the comments of ATL. I hadn't seen blogs that dealt more with the firm level of thinking instead of just the student or associate level. There was also a link to a post about firm default on kowalski - though it seems a little self-serving.

http://www.adamsmithesq.com/2012/03/dewey-1909/

http://kowalskiandassociatesblog.com/20 ... unct-firm/

LawIdiot86
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:SA here.

I had several offers and am tempted to reach out to the firms I declined, but have been cautioned against doing so because if it somehow gets back to Dewey, my longterm prospects there are virtually nonexistent.

While I recognize the gravity of the matter, I also think this might all be a little overblown. Nothing has happened yet that was unexpected since the firm's first comment on the situation a couple weeks ago. Things might stabilize once the firm cuts some fat and then looks to move forward in a more responsible manner. Also, even if their content is accurate, the media and law blogs love to sensationalize things.

I also interviewed with one of the partners at Dewey that just left for Willkie, but I don't think it's wise to do anything more than send a friendly e-mail at this point. In fact, I am nervous about contacting anybody with such close ties to Dewey. Word of such things travels quickly and it could inadvertently land in the wrong hands at Dewey. I would be careful about taking this approach until things become more dire.


Umm, did you miss the three (co)-heads leaving for Willkie? Practice heads generally aren't "fat" to cut, nor is it sensationalized to say their departure is the sort of thing expected by healthy law firms.

LawIdiot86
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:03 pm

sunynp wrote:This doesn't help with this situation - but I found this article about Dewey on this site called Adam Smith Esq, which someone had linked to in the comments of ATL. I hadn't seen blogs that dealt more with the firm level of thinking instead of just the student or associate level. There was also a link to a post about firm default on kowalski - though it seems a little self-serving.

http://www.adamsmithesq.com/2012/03/dewey-1909/

http://kowalskiandassociatesblog.com/20 ... unct-firm/


Yeah, I don't follow these blogs because the first one is run by the same guy who runs the horrifically bad JDMatch.com service and the second one is continuously reamed by other people on ATL.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:SA here.

Nothing has happened yet that was unexpected since the firm's first comment on the situation a couple weeks ago. Things might stabilize once the firm cuts some fat and then looks to move forward in a more responsible manner. Also, even if their content is accurate, the media and law blogs love to sensationalize things.


Another SA. I would agree with you up until this weekend. If a well-respected partner or two leave for different firms, that's one thing. When a huge chunk of 12 partners + support associates leave the firm, that's a sizable part of DL. According to one of the blogs, the group accounted for 5% of firm-wide revenue.

This is just the sort of thing I was fearing. A few partners leaving is news worthy and might startle a few bloggers, but this big a group is a different thing entirely.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:14 pm

Poster that was rejected at Dewey post-CB:

I will say that during my CB, there were a few things that should've tipped me off that something was a bit amiss. I interviewed with attorneys in a few different groups and when I did my usual line of questioning about why said person came the the firm, the attorneys always focused on the *original* firm (LeBoeuf vs. Dewey Ballantine), and looking back, that should've been a red flag that things really weren't all that smooth since the merger, despite claims to the contrary that everything had settled. Seems like the most recent group that left was mostly from the LeBoeuf group, since they were the insurance firm; and they had absolutely zero loyalty to the conglomerate "Dewey" had become post-merger.

I think Dewey, should it collapse, will be of a tale of a firm that just got "too big too soon" and a sign that these mega-firm mergers are generally extremely poor ideas.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:22 pm

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/07/dewey-le ... w-offices/

Reading about this and the deferred DL associate makes me wonder who knew what when

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:25 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:SA here.

I had several offers and am tempted to reach out to the firms I declined, but have been cautioned against doing so because if it somehow gets back to Dewey, my longterm prospects there are virtually nonexistent.

While I recognize the gravity of the matter, I also think this might all be a little overblown. Nothing has happened yet that was unexpected since the firm's first comment on the situation a couple weeks ago. Things might stabilize once the firm cuts some fat and then looks to move forward in a more responsible manner. Also, even if their content is accurate, the media and law blogs love to sensationalize things.

I also interviewed with one of the partners at Dewey that just left for Willkie, but I don't think it's wise to do anything more than send a friendly e-mail at this point. In fact, I am nervous about contacting anybody with such close ties to Dewey. Word of such things travels quickly and it could inadvertently land in the wrong hands at Dewey. I would be careful about taking this approach until things become more dire.


Umm, did you miss the three (co)-heads leaving for Willkie? Practice heads generally aren't "fat" to cut, nor is it sensationalized to say their departure is the sort of thing expected by healthy law firms.


Partner departures were expected - whether they would be chairs was neither here nor there. The departing group is a blow for Dewey, but according to Dewey's chairman it was forecasted to bring in $22 million and take out $21 million.

The media has sensationalized this story. Dewey has been a respected firm for over a century and their implosion would be bad for the profession. The tone of certain stories and on Above the Law is not helping.

LawIdiot86
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Partner departures were expected - whether they would be chairs was neither here nor there. The departing group is a blow for Dewey, but according to Dewey's chairman it was forecasted to bring in $22 million and take out $21 million.

The media has sensationalized this story. Dewey has been a respected firm for over a century and their implosion would be bad for the profession. The tone of certain stories and on Above the Law is not helping.


Ignoring the first claim, which would take too long to dissect. Why would their implosion be bad for the profession? Has Howrey's implosion changed antitrust litigation one iota? When Lord Day Lord, the oldest firm in NYC, went under in 1994, did that change anything? Why do lawyers assume their profession is "special" and immune to the normal cycles of business? Brobeck was 75 years old and as large as Dewey is and its dissolution didn't change things. Heller Ehrman was older and bigger in west coast antitrust and almost as large. Thacher Proffitt & Wood was 150 years old. Coudert Brothers was 150 years old and had 650 lawyers. How is Dewey any different from them?

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:39 pm



This is actually a really good (if long) read - does some number crunching on lost revenue, outstanding debt, loan covenants, etc.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:31 pm

Morgan12Oak wrote:http://abovethelaw.com/2010/07/dewey-leboeuf-pauses-2011-summer-program-at-a-few-offices/

Reading about this and the deferred DL associate makes me wonder who knew what when


Rejected Anon Again:

A couple of the associates I met on my CB had been deferred and that was pretty normal ITE... though most firms have "cleared" them by now (although Cravath and Weil and some others may still have deferred associates). The pauses in the summer program probably were indicative that something wasn't necessarily right... but again, these types of stories were normal for ITE.

The reason what is going on now is a big deal is because it's affecting the firm's major offices and some of the strongest practice groups, like the insurance group going to Willkie.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:41 pm

Honestly, if I were you I would email him asking if you can call him to talk about Dewey (by email is a bad idea and he will probably tell you to call him anyway because no one wants to put stuff in writing). In fact, I wish I were you so that I could take advantage of this. Don't freak out and express worry on the phone. Don't ask for an SA at Wilkie. Just ask what his thoughts are on your position at Dewey and whether he thinks you should be looking for another job and if he has any ideas at this point in the game. This is a perfect networking opportunity. Maybe he will offer to help set you up to be considered by Wilkie during 3L OCI. Better now than later.

Anonymous User wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote: If you have a Dewey SA and are scared about a no-offer, it's worth the time to figure out the likelihood of dissolution and build that into your personal risk assessment.

I'm a Class of 2013 Dewy SA and yes I'm scared about a no-offer after the summer and equally scared about the possibility of dissolution before the summer starts or outright cancellation. The firm has reassured us that the summer is on but it all just seems out of control and May feels a long way away.

In fact, a no offer after the SA is really the best option of the three, because at least I get to make some money over the summer and more importantly get some experience to talk about at 3L OCI (which is now mandatory for Dewey SAs no matter what happens over the summer). I'm also scared that things stabilize for a year or two but then the firm goes under when I'm a first or second year associate with little lateral ability.

ITT there have been some helpful posters about maintaining a proper and professional attitude over the summer. Beyond that, and trying to kill it this spring for grades during 3L OCI, what else is there for us to do?

There is one partner among the recently departed group of 12 to Wilkie who was instrumental in me getting an SA - interviewed me, maintained contact throughout the call back process, was on the hiring committee, and I had requested him as a mentor for the summer. Now he's gone, any chance I send him a request for advice and hope that he offers me an SA at Wilkie??? Seems like a long shot, but if the summer IS actually cancelled, there doesn't seem like much else to do.

rad lulz
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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby rad lulz » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:44 pm

OP missed a golden opportunity to make a Dewey pun in the thread title.

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Re: How to handle Dewey (or similar firms)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:53 pm

rad lulz wrote:OP missed a golden opportunity to make a Dewey pun in the thread title.


Dewey really think that'd be appropriate at a time like this?




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