Large N.Y. firm files for bankruptcy

Michael P. Tremoglie May 30, 2012, 7:06am


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - One of the nation's largest law firms filed for bankruptcy Monday.

Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, of New York City, is a global law firm that was formed in 2007 with the merger of two longtime firms Dewey Balantine, founded in 1909, and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, founded in 1929. Among its more high-profile clients was the Los Angeles Dodgers, for which it handled a bankruptcy.

The action was filed in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The firm has indicated that it will dissolve. According to court documents, the firm has $315 million in liabilities.

"We are proud of the dedication and professionalism that has characterized Dewey & LeBoeuf over many years, and we intend to bring the same focus to the unfortunate task of closing out our affairs," said Stephen Horvath, the firm's executive partner.

According to press reports, the firm's problems are the result of the depressed economy and a change in the law business. The result was compensation plans the firm could not afford and a mass exodus of lawyers.

At its business peak, the firm employed more than a thousand lawyers worldwide. It operated 26 offices in various countries including Kazakhstan.

"A few years ago nobody could have imagined this would happen," said Judd Serotta, a partner at Blank Rome in Philadelphia and the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Federalist Society.

"The demise of this firm shows how in the 21st century, even law firms need to keep up with the times in their business models. As the saying goes, if you are not moving forward you are moving backward."

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