Massive hiring spree puts Dewey centre stage

Dewey & LeBoeuf has been on a mammoth recruitment drive.

Fred Gander

Fred Gander

Last week the firm’s ­Silicon Valley office hired a corporate team from ­Cooley Godward Kronish led by partner Richard Climan. It also snared banking partner Marshall Stoddard from Mayer Brown to lead its US banking team.

Last week’s recruitment frenzy follows an exciting few months for Dewey. In the past year the firm has launched three offices in the Middle East and is finalising plans to set up in Madrid.

Lateral hiring opportunities have clearly come out of the downturn. This is no surprise. But the catalyst for Dewey’s ambitious growth strategy was in part one ­particularly good hire in New York.

Last year restructuring partner Martin Bienenstock moved to Dewey from ­bankruptcy powerhouse Weil Gotshal & Manges. As the former co-head of Weil’s business restructuring group, Bienenstock was a coup for Dewey. Indeed, his hire signified its ambition and caught the attention of Manhattan’s legal ­community.

“It made people sit up and take notice,” says London-based Dewey partner Fred Gander. “Partners paid attention to the type of firm we’ve become since the merger and started to ­recognise the opportunities of the global platform.”

Bienenstock hit the ground running. Last year (12 December 2008) TheLawyer.com reported that Bienenstock was ­leading the US firm’s team advising General Motors on its bankruptcy.

This was a big win for Dewey and one that has ­propelled it into the ­limelight during the credit crisis.

“We’ve done a lot since our merger during very challenging times,” says Gander. “But there are a lot of opportunities now. ­Partners who would ­previously not ever consider ­moving to another firm are looking at us.”

Dewey’s brand has transformed in recent years. Since the Dewey ­Ballantine and LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & McRae merger, firm ­chairman Steve Davis has worked hard to expand the firm’s global platform.

Last week’s hires and the office launches throughout the year suggest that Dewey is at least heading in the right direction.