A&O, Bakers and DLA among firms facing legal action over Dewey hires

Allen & Overy (A&O), Linklaters and DLA Piper are among the firms facing legal action over the hire of partners from collapsed US firm Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Texas-based litigation firm Diamond McCarthy, the lawyers for the defunct firm’s liquidating trust, have requested authority to issue subpoenas to 36 law firms – including Eversheds, Latham & Watkins, White & Case, Baker & McKenzie and Mayer Brown, over so-called unfinished business claims against ex-Dewey partners. 

According to court papers filed in New York last week (26 July), lawyers for the trust are seeking information concerning the transfer of work which former Dewey partners took to their new firms. 

“These former partners were working on active matters on behalf of clients at the time the former partners left DL [Dewey & LeBoeuf] and transitioned to the Firms,” read the application. ”For these reasons, the Trust has a good faith basis for believing that the Firms are providing and have provided legal services to these former DL clients on matters originated while the Former Partners were at DL.” 

Over 80 ex-Dewey partners are also named individually in the application. These include Linklaters’ New York-based global head of tax Gordon Warnke, Eversheds’ Beijing managing partner Ingrid Zhu-Clark, Hogan Lovells’ head of US corporate insurance James Fitzpatrick, and DLA Piper’s global co-chair of US finance John Altorelli.

In London these partners include Proskauer Rose’s head of European restructuring Mark Fennessy, Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ banking partner Bruce Johnston and Vinson & Elkins global co-head of project finance Nabil Khodadad. 

Dewey & LeBoeuf filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a New York bankruptcy court in May last year (29 May 2012). Albert Togut, managing partner of Togut Segal & Segal was instructed by Dewey as bankruptcy counsel (20 April 2012), with Joff Mitchell of Zolfo Cooper retained as chief restructuring officer.

Diamond McCarthy is also advising now-defunct firm Howrey in similar “unfinished business” claims. Managing partner Allan Diamond was not available for comment at the time of writing.