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Thread: Dewey & LeBoeuf Said to Encourage Partners to Leave

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    Dewey & LeBoeuf Said to Encourage Partners to Leave

    Shocked it hasn't been covered on shaggy. I have been following since a friend is there. Sucks for the staff. This $#@! is going down.

    Dewey & LeBoeuf, the New York law firm crippled by financial mismanagement, an exodus of partners and a criminal investigation of its former chairman, encouraged its partners on Monday evening to look for another job, according to an internal memo.

    The firm’s leadership has been scrambling in recent days to stave off failure by merging with another law firm and persuading its lenders not to push it into liquidation. “All partners,” said the memo, which was reviewed by The New York Times, “are encouraged to seek out alternative opportunities.”

    The memo represents the latest chapter in a tumultuous period for Dewey, which has come apart after disappointing profits forced its leadership to slash partners’ compensation. An accelerating wave of partner defections since January — more than 85 of its 300 partners have left, including at least 11 on Monday — imperiled the firm.
    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/04/...ners-to-leave/

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    One flaw I see in law firms is that the lawyers are also the business managers. It works out well with regard to keeping the old guys incentivized with regard to bringing in clients, but their people management and financial management can be absolutely terrible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by groverat View Post
    One flaw I see in law firms is that the lawyers are also the business managers. It works out well with regard to keeping the old guys incentivized with regard to bringing in clients, but their people management and financial management can be absolutely terrible.
    The logic is appealing. But I wonder how much empirical evidence there is to support the "lawyers are bad managers" meme. Law firms, even big law firms, fail fairly often. But how does the law firm failure rate compare to the rate in other industries?

  4. #4
    Yeah lawyers canbe terrible managers and the greed and egotism can be amazing. Plus even with competent management, a big pile of high rate lawyers is worse than a herd of cats.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by groverat View Post
    One flaw I see in law firms is that the lawyers are also the business managers. It works out well with regard to keeping the old guys incentivized with regard to bringing in clients, but their people management and financial management can be absolutely terrible.
    This is very true

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    the DA here in NYC is investigating them. bad times

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    Quote Originally Posted by groverat View Post
    One flaw I see in law firms is that the lawyers are also the business managers. It works out well with regard to keeping the old guys incentivized with regard to bringing in clients, but their people management and financial management can be absolutely terrible.
    There are ways around it, but the professional ethics rules that prohibits lawyers from sharing legal fees with non-attorneys is a big culprit in this. You CAN pay a salary to a non-attorney business manager, but it's tricky to do performance based bonuses to non-attorneys due to that rule.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by groverat View Post
    One flaw I see in law firms is that the lawyers are also the business managers. It works out well with regard to keeping the old guys incentivized with regard to bringing in clients, but their people management and financial management can be absolutely terrible.
    This hasn't been my experience. To my knowledge, most large firms employ non-lawyers to fill traditional "business" positions -- finance, marketing, that sort of thing. The lawyers own the firm and thus ultimately control how the business is managed, but lawyers are often smart enough to delegate business functions to experts. Also, the lawyers that rise to the top are generally business-minded. It's pretty common for partners to have business degrees, accounting experience, management experience, or otherwise to have enough business savvy to be effective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hornian View Post
    There are ways around it, but the professional ethics rules that prohibits lawyers from sharing legal fees with non-attorneys is a big culprit in this. You CAN pay a salary to a non-attorney business manager, but it's tricky to do performance based bonuses to non-attorneys due to that rule.
    What's the purpose of limiting that flow of money?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hornian View Post
    There are ways around it, but the professional ethics rules that prohibits lawyers from sharing legal fees with non-attorneys is a big culprit in this. You CAN pay a salary to a non-attorney business manager, but it's tricky to do performance based bonuses to non-attorneys due to that rule.
    Every firm I have worked at has had a Managing Committee (Elected Partners), followed by Finance and Staff Management, and has paid performance based bonuses to non-attorney staff. The only difference is that staff bonuses aren't based on work for particular clients or cases. They are based on performance reviews. I wouldn't say it is tricky since it is pretty much the norm.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FondrenRoad View Post
    Every firm I have worked at has had a Managing Committee (Elected Partners), followed by Finance and Staff Management, and has paid performance based bonuses to non-attorney staff. The only difference is that staff bonuses aren't based on work for particular clients or cases. They are based on performance reviews. I wouldn't say it is tricky since it is pretty much the norm.
    I speak from the mindset of a smaller firm, so I'm probably out of my depth (my firm is 3 attorneys, one staff member - and the CLEs I've attended in the past about business and practice management harp on the "don't pay your staff the wrong way")

    I will defer to biglaw peeps.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hornian View Post
    There are ways around it, but the professional ethics rules that prohibits lawyers from sharing legal fees with non-attorneys is a big culprit in this. You CAN pay a salary to a non-attorney business manager, but it's tricky to do performance based bonuses to non-attorneys due to that rule.
    lolz

  13. #13
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    Bump. It is officially closing its doors so more unemployed lawyers.

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    they provided WARN notice. the writing is (and has been) on the wall.


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