Exodus of Dewey attorneys in full effect

At least 25 partners jump ship on Tuesday, associates and staff reportedly told their employment ends next week

It’s getting to the point where even the rats will want off the ship with the crew before it sinks. Another chapter was written yesterday in New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf’s well-chronicled collapse as a raft of rainmakers ran for the exits.

The embattled firm, which last week issued a WARN notice to its employees signaling that the firm may go under, lost at least 25 more partners yesterday.

DLA Piper opened its doors to a gaggle of former Dewey partners, including Paul Chen, who has joined its corporate and securities practice in the firm’s Silicon Valley office. Also defecting to DLA Piper are New York attorney Berge Setrakian; Joseph Tato, the chair of Dewey's global project finance and infrastructure finance group; and Joseph Lavelle, a patent litigator in Washington.

Five partners, led by mergers and acquisitions partner Richard Climan, were hired by Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Keith Flaum, Jane Ross, John Brockland and James Griffin will join Climan at Weil’s Silicon Valley office. Over a 15-year period, the team has handled a host significant transactions in the technology and life sciences sectors, working with clients such as Adobe, Applied Materials, Dell, eBay, Gilead Sciences, Oracle, Synopsys and Zynga.

Venable doubled the size of its New York real estate practice yesterday when it added six real estate lawyers from Dewey. Peter Britell, Gordon Davis and Suzanne St. Pierre joined as partners; Susan Golden as counsel, and Michael Phillipou and Ashley Dunn as associates.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld announced that it hired three energy partners from Dewey's London and Houston offices. John LaMaster, chair of Dewey's global oil and gas industry sector group, and Marc Hammerson joined Akin Gump’s London firm, while Steven Otillar will work out of the Houston office. All three partners focus on cross-border energy transactions.

Five more energy partners decided instead to transition to Bracewell & Giuliani’s New York, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut offices. The group includes John Klauberg, Dewey’s former co-head of the utilities, power and pipelines global industry sector group; Catherine McCarthy, former Dewey co-head of the energy regulatory department; as well as Frederick Lark, David Poe and Charles Vandenburgh. Bracewell expects that they will be joined by a number of Dewey associates.

For those associates not escaping on partners’ coattails, they could be in for a rough ride. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Dewey lawyer said that in a meeting yesterday held in the firm’s multi-purpose room, a group of associates were told that next Tuesday would be their last day. The source also said that more meetings with associates were set for later in the afternoon.

The Journal says that yesterday’s meeting was the firm’s first real communication with associates regarding their fate amid about half the partners having defected and basic law firm functions shutting down, including mailroom duties and car services.

“We are pretty happy to have some closure instead of this drip torture,” one associate told the Journal.

Additionally, the Journal reports that secretaries were told on Monday that Friday would be their last day.

To see an infographic on where the departed Dewey attorneys have gone, check out the Wall Street Journal.

For more on Dewey partners leaving, read Reuters. For the associates’ plight, read the Journal.

And for more from InsideCounsel on Dewey’s downfall, read:

Dewey warns employees that firm could shut down

Dewey’s potential merger with SNR Denton falls apart

Dewey encourages partners to jump ship

N.Y. prosecutors probe Dewey & LeBoeuf, firm cuts ties with executive

Dewey & LeBoeuf plans to sublease executive floor

Dewey & LeBoeuf hires bankruptcy counsel

12 Dewey & LeBoeuf partners defect to Willkie Farr

Dewey & LeBoeuf overhauls management team amid more defections

Dewey & LeBoeuf loses 4 more lawyers

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