Dewey Think We Are Watching the Deconstruction of a Venerable Law Firm?


In these challenging times, a noted and venerated law firm seems, at the very zenith of the profession, seems to be deconstructing before our eyes. While some of us watch transfixed as a major pillar of the legal community goes through a wrenching public spectacle of troves of partner defections, dissembling of reports of revenue generation we are all waiting to exhale and see if his is going to be train wreck or if, like Denzel Washington in Unstoppable the train engineer will steer the train to safety, while we sit at the edge of our seats.

While the final act remains unwritten, it behooves all to consider the events as they are unfolding daily and learn cautionary tales from the events and management strategies as they emerge.

I speak, of course, of venerated Dewey & LeBoeuf.

That great law firm finds itself under siege by a relentless media, a torrent of partner defections and a swarm of piranha headhunters seeking out any viable candidate.

Thus far, management has not obtained a complete vote of confidence among the firm’s partners. It has engaged in some dissembling and has yet to adequately deal with the torrent of adverse media reports.

Should this firm fail, the results will be disastrous. We all must hope that this ship has its course corrected. But, in the interim, let’s take a look at some of the missteps and consider what a better course might have been. And, more significantly, let’s all pitch in and offer our own management suggestions to help this noble firm avoid disaster.

If you were in management here, what would you do?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Jerome Kowalski, Kowalski & Associates | Attorney Advertising

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Jerome Kowalski
Kowalski & Associates

Jerry Kowalski is the founder of Kowalski & Associates, which provides law firm management... View Profile »

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