Law Firms

Dodd-Frank Is Lucrative for BigLaw; Debevoise Earns $100K for a 17-Page Letter

The Dodd-Frank financial reform law is bedeviling banks and benefiting BigLaw.

Lawyers are competing for a cut of the action, along with accountants, financial consultants, technology vendors and others, the New York Times reports. “Call it Dodd-Frank Inc.,” the newspaper says. “A year after Congress passed the broadest financial overhaul since the Great Depression, the law has spawned a host of new businesses to help Wall Street comply—and capitalize—on the hundreds of new regulations.”

Banks are spending “eye-popping sums” to oppose stringent regulations or to comply with the law, the Times says. The story identifies these law firms as benefiting:

• Debevoise & Plimpton has drafted more than 30 comment letters aimed at persuading regulators to adopt a more lenient interpretation of the rules. The firm billed $100,000 for one 17-page letter on the definition of bank-owned hedge funds. Longer letters dealing with more complex topics could easily cost twice as much, the story says.

• Davis Polk & Wardwell is charging $7,500 a month for a subscription to a website tracking the progress of every Dodd-Frank requirement. More than 30 large financial companies are subscribers. The project began as an in-house spreadsheet for lawyers until associate Gabriel Rosenberg proposed making the database into an interactive website. He built a prototype in a weekend.

• Clifford Chance and Sullivan & Cromwell are among those “working overtime to land assignments” stemming from a requirement that large financial institutions establish “living wills,” the story says. The living wills outline plans for a wind down in the event of collapse.

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