Categories:United States

Dewey's Sharp hits out at stricken firm's US management

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  • Yes Peter, we believe you.....who could possibly think you put # 1 first?

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  • 20 April: decides to look for another firm. Finds a firm, starts and completes negotiations and leaves by 3 May. 7 working days from start to finish. That was a very quick negotiation, Mr Sharp. Congratulations.

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  • Let's face it Peter Sharp was ignored ever since the merger took place and was never involved in the day to day operations anyway. This whole mess is no surprise bearing in mind the various warnings over the last 2-3 years. The only surprise is that is has taken this long for the Partners to man the lifeboats. If I hadn't been paid my salary for 2009/2010 I would be pretty annoyed to be fair!

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  • How can you say Peter was ignored and was never involved in the day to day operations? He attended all the Executive Committee meetings, all the London Policy Committee meetings and he was the head of the London office. No-one was more involved than Peter.

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  • If he was that involved day to day then why didn't he stop this debacle snowballing bearing in mind all of the warning signs. A few examples that go back years not months.
    Why didn't he stop the US diverting funds into their own bank accounts for London bills starving London of cash so they could not meet the monthly obligations?
    Why didn't he ensure that vendors/landlords/taxes were paid on time? Or if obligations could not be met then at least reduce services accordingly?
    Why didn't he make sure that capital commitments for leavers were honoured?
    The fact is he was not involved in the day to day operations otherwise he would have seen this coming like the rest of us. The only guy that tried to cut spending and increase income was Steve Horvath hence why he was given the global role.
    One final point is that if you accept the title Managing Partner along with the juicy compensation that comes with it then you should make it your business to know all of the above!

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  • either delusional or (as he served on those committees) cowardly
    mort pierce also claimed he didn't know what was going on despite being on all such committees in nyc
    gimme a break - tells you who ends up leadership positions in law firms

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  • Peter was head of the UK LLP, and is an English solicitor regulated by the SRA. As such, he owned the usual duties to the UK LLP and its creditors as a director, fiduciary duties to the other members of the UK LLP, and was obliged to comply with SRA regulations. It is surely not the case that he considered himself hamstrung by what New York wanted him to do. The discharge of his duties to the UK LLP, its other partners and the SRA would presumably have required him to exercise a lot more independent judgment than just relying on instructions (or lack of instructions) from New York. It seems lame to try to excuse his conduct on the ground that New York failed to tell him what to do.
    Was he the managing partner, or not? We have lived though Emile Heskey, the non-scoring centre-forward, now do we have Peter Sharp, the non-managing managing partner? Sign him up as your assistant for the Euros now, Roy.

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  • the fact that sharp negotiated the deal with morgan lewis in about a week is more down to morgan lewis being desperate to expand in london and therefore not doing much (if any) due diligence. so they have taken on a three partner litigation team in london where previously they had no disputes practice, and the entire moscow and almaty offices in countries where they had no presence. it appears to be a case of getting what they could, doing due diligence afterwards (over the next year or so?) and then right-sizing it later. maybe morgan lewis will make sharp the head of their london office now, and he can have the honour of sacking his dewey colleagues when it hasn’t worked out.

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  • Sharp practices?

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  • Breaking news-just formally gone into administration. Security passes will not work after 6pm!
    By the way we will be deducting the balance of season ticket loan from your last paycheck even though any cancelled tickets will be refunded directly to us!

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  • ^ haha, simple but effective

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  • It all started going wrong from the day Peter Sharp joined LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae - one bad egg......

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  • What sort of due diligence did White & Case do on Mort Pierce? Did they look beyond his claim to bill 10,000 hours pa?

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  • Just to give you a bit more insight into this guys involvement and business acumen.
    A few months ago he suggested turning one of the empty floors at Stalag Minster Court into a coffee bar! I mean come on.
    London also quite recently (1 yr ago) signed new leases on all floors. Shocking bearing in mind the financial indicators available (that were ignored by all).

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  • So yesterday afternoon they called all the employees together in London and sacked everyone but a small team needed to wind things up. The London office is in administration, and the US firm is in Chapter 11. And where is Peter Sharp? Leading from the shore, with a healthy paycheck from Morgan Lewis. Thanks, Peter.

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  • This is going to be truly horrific for the partners. Overdrawn current accounts leading to recovery action with a liquidator looking at every conceivable avenue available to him.
    BDO do of course already have a blueprint following their involvement with Halliwells and will have learnt from this.

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  • While it is very easy to make a scapegoat of Peter Sharp, he was not responsible for the demise of Dewey. If you have to point the finger try New York. Peter Sharp was not a member of the Executive Committee whereas other London partners were. London was a well managed office, but given its ties to New York, unable to extract itself from the carnage. Yes Peter Sharp left but he took other partners, associates and support staff with him and since leaving has also found homes within his new firm for other support staff, haven’t seen any other ex D&L partner doing the same. If they did some more of us might have jobs to go to.

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  • To 29-May-201 @ 11:52 - Hi Peter! Or is that your mum?
    If Peter wasn't on the Executive Committee, then why did he attend every meeting? He certainly was a de facto member at the least.

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  • Could Peter or his puppet tell us how many 'partners, associates and support staff' he took with him and how that works? Other partners blindly following him?
    Seems unlikely.

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  • Peter's hands were tied by what happened in New York and he did his best to try and prevent this from happening. No doubt he feels terrible for what has happened but is not solely to blame.

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  • “In mid-March I told [staff] I was not about to disappear. The situation changed,” Sharp told The Lawyer in an interview published today. Yes, it certainly did change. Sharp negotiated a new job in about a week, and jumped into that lifeboat. It is basically a coincidence that the Moscow and Almaty offices went to the same firm. Sharp may feel terrible, but not nearly as terrible as those he left behind who are now unemployed.

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  • to anon at 10.37
    does that mean peter found his religion when the money stopped coming in?

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  • @Arthur: "London also quite recently (1 yr ago) signed new leases on all floors. Shocking bearing in mind the financial indicators available (that were ignored by all)."
    Dewey & LeBoeuf in London was a partnership until relatively recently. You can bet your bottom dollar that Peter Sharp as the managing partner in London was one of the partners holding the existing leases of their building, and therefore would have been personally liable on them. New leases would presumably have been completed in the name of the new LLP, getting Peter and the other partner signatories to the original leases off the hook. Maybe he was not ignoring the financial indicators as you suggest, but rather the opposite, getting himself out of the line of fire by the landlord if the firm went down. Only he can know what he knew of the financial plight of the firm when the new leases were signed, and what the motivations really were for doing this, but maybe it is not as shocking as it might appear at first sight; it is possible that financial indicators, far from being ignored, could conceivably have been a significant motivating factor. We will probably never know, but things are not always as simple as they may seem.

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  • Some of these comments are pretty amusing. Sharp loves his publicity - he loves talking to The Lawyer and Legal Week - hence this article among many others over the years. Wonder what he thinks now?

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  • I am more interested in what Morgan Lewis are thinking after reading this.
    Turd in a punchbowl rather than jewel in the crown comes to mind.
    Still they do say there is no such thing as bad publicity!

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  • to anon at 11:22. What did you expect Peter to do, stay with a sinking ship? He tried his best but some of you are bitter and jealous.

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  • to ricky
    yeah, and the generals turn against the leadership when the war starts to go badly and their backsides might be toast
    meanwhile the road the good times turning a blind eye to waht was going on
    how brave

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  • @Ricky: yes, he had every right to leave, as did anyone else. What stinks is that he told people he was not going anywhere, then, when he changed his mind, without telling anyone he went headlong into look-after-number-one self-preservation mode and suddenly disappeared. Is it any wonder that others in the office thought his bevaviour was despicable and became very bitter?

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  • The longer version of this article (“A Matter of Principals”) says “Sharp, who had always been considered one of the market’s nice guys....” What a joke. The journalist only says this because Sharp has been sucking up to him (and similar journalists at Legal Week and elsewhere) for years. Sharp’s former colleagues would probably argue to the contrary, and his new colleagues at MLB will figure this out soon enough. Furthermore, Sharp never had any plan to save the London office. According to the longer version of this article, even the plan he put to Dewey’s New York HQ only included half the partners. So he was sacrificing half the partners and half the office to save himself and what he considered to be the best part of the office. Remember, as a disputes partner, Sharp has no repeat business. He and the members of his team are reliant on a strong transactions team to feed them work. So everything he was doing was designed to save his own skin – the only reason he ever planned to move with anyone else was so they could feed him work and keep his practice going.

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  • Sharp was never one of the market's nice guys. I witnessed him shafting people loyal to him in the past when it suited his interests to do so. This debacle is just a more public example of behaviour he has long been exhibiting. I'm glad that these comments are for the most part reflecting his true colours.

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  • This simply looks like a case of New City vs Old City. Traditionally law (and the City generally) was something in which people didn't move around often and loyalty to the firm and others therein was a big deal. Nowadays, it is very much an every man for himself world. While there are several people out there who still have and display loyalty, unfortunately they can often get done over, left behind or otherwise shafted by their peers. This is the case whether at partnership level of a firm (sinking, or to one performing exceptionally well), or at trainee level when it comes to fighting for those rarer by the day NQ roles, or at associate level in a climate where redundancy programmes are reported at least weekly on this website.

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