Law Firms

Dewey Statement Hits Financial 'Mischaracterizations'; WSJ Reports Delayed Bonuses

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Dewey & LeBoeuf released an optimistic statement about the firm’s future on Wednesday after holding a partnership meeting where finances were part of the discussion.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) characterized the meeting as a “pep talk” and quotes an anonymous partner who said firm leaders encouraged attendees to stick with the practice.

The meeting was held days after a group of 12 partners left the firm. They are among about 30 partners who left in 2012. The firm has announced plans to cut about 5 percent of its lawyers and has said some partners were asked to leave.

Law firm chairman Steven Davis said in a statement that, “mischaracterizations aside,” the firm has strong financial footing, the story says. “We are producing the best work in the history of the firm and producing some of its strongest ever results,” Davis said. “The overwhelming majority of our partners are excited about our future.”

The news wasn’t as good in a separate meeting where the firm said it would delay associate bonuses to no later than May 31, anonymous lawyers told the publication. The bonuses are usually paid by April 1.

The story also reports a $155 million mismatch between revenue numbers reported to the American Lawyer and to partners. Partner Richard Shutran told the publication the legal magazine’s numbers are higher because it uses different metrics than those used for budget calculations. American Lawyer editor-in-chief Robin Sparkman said Dewey & LeBoeuf management provided the numbers to the magazine.

Updated at 5:15 a.m. to include Sparkman’s comment.

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