Whining out

Ex-Dewey partners gather their strength… in a wine bar

It started two and a half years ago as a group of former Dewey & LeBoeuf City partners who met occasionally to drink and share memories, but things are getting more serious now.

As the US firm’s dissolution sinks in, the group has expanded. Around 10 ex-partners were set to meet at a London wine bar on 7 June to discuss the situation, in what has morphed from a group of friends to an informal meeting forum for those who feel they could have a claim against their former firm.

It is not open to anyone dubbed a “bad guy” and there is no chairman – it is a “real democracy”, according to one member.

The issues are many: will the UK LLP have to pay off its liabilities to the US before it pays off UK creditors?; is the situation different for so-called ’LLP members’ (those who left after the conversion from a multinational partnership to an LLP last year) and those who quit pre-conversion?; and does the advice given by CMS Cameron McKenna to LLP members apply to all former partners?

The key change now is that some of the newest members of the informal group are recent Dewey departees. That means they were in the room when key meetings and briefings from lawyers in the Rita Lowe-led Camerons team took place and therefore have inside knowledge.

One former partner suggested the firm may currently be negotiating a settlement with ex-members, but the process is going to be drawn out. Many boozy get-togethers will take place before any breakthrough is reached.