Dewey finally files for bankruptcy

The filing marks the largest law firm collapse in U.S. history

After nearly five full months of taking blow after blow, apparently it was time to throw in the towel. Reeling New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last night in Manhattan federal bankruptcy court.

In addition to the filing, Dewey also announced last night that it is seeking approval to liquidate its business after failing to find a merging partner. The firm said it would ask about 90 employees to remain on staff to assist in winding down the business. It has $315 million in liabilities, with $225 million of that owed to its banks. Former partners, landlords and even janitors are still owed money.

Concurrent to the Journal’s report, Dewey also announced that it had engaged restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper to help it collect receivables and pay back lenders and creditors. Joff Mitchell, a senior managing director at Zolfo who currently is acting as Dewey’s chief restructuring officer, will spearhead the wind-down along with bankruptcy counsel Albert Togut, whom the firm brought on in April.

Despite the bankruptcy filing, experts still expect lawsuits to mount up against the soon-to-be-defunct firm from disgruntled former partners to other outside interests. In fact, they’ve already begun.

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