Dewey moots further management overhaul as current reshuffle gets underway

Dewey & LeBoeuf is set to vote on further changes to its management structure early next year, as the US firm unveils an overhaul of the way it is run.

Steve Davis
Steve Davis

Under the latest reshuffle, London partner Stephen Horvath has been appointed to a new position of executive partner, responsible for carrying out day-to-day responsibilities of implementing management decisions.

Chairman Steve Davis, meanwhile, is moving to the firm’s London office to “return to the practice of law”, according to an internal memo to global partners.

The memo – which claims the firm’s year is “off to a terrific start” – says it reached an “overwhelming consensus” at an executive committee meeting yesterday to change the firm’s governance from a single chairman to a five-member office of the chairman, giving roles to five partners, including Davis (27 March 2012).

It follows a string of partner departures from the firm, notably a six-strong exodus of New York insurance partners last week (26 March 2012).

Earlier this month 12 partners quit for Willkie Farr & Gallagher, including a City duo (19 March 2012).

The structure will be in place until later this year, with partners set to vote early next year on further changes.

Horvath will relocate to New York and work with executive director Stephen DiCarmine, who will report to Horvath, according to the New York Times.

A total of 30 senior partners from around the global network attended the executive committee meeting yesterday, according to the memo.

The memo says the rejig was intended “to respond to the requests made by a number of you that you would like more direct hands-on management of the firm by its key practice leaders”.

It goes on: “We have also heard your requests for more direct communication with partners on internal matters, including compensation and, if approved, the committee intends to respond to that request.”

It makes frequent reference to future events in what appears to be a move to re-assure partners about the firm’s prospects.

It states that the current executive committee will “serve for the rest of this year” and highlights increases in revenue for the past two months and the 2011 calendar year.

“There has been a lot of discussion about the strategy we implemented over the past several years. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding: 2012 is off to a terrific start,” the memo claims.

“None of these individuals [appointed to management positions] would have agreed to take on this added responsibility if they didn’t believe in the partners of this firm, its direction and its future.

“We look forward to doing great things together in the days, weeks and years to come.”