Dewey & LeBoeuf today told its remaining London associates that it cannot ensure it will pay their salaries beyond the end of this month.
Management at the troubled US firm communicated the news at a meeting at lunchtime today open to all associates in the office, announcing that lawyers would only be paid until 31 May.
A Dewey spokesperson confirmed that the firm has promised associates salaries up until the end of May but that it cannot currently offer “definitive assurance” of any payment past this date.
The firm has been able to ensure that associates receive their May salaries by placing them in a bank account.
“The London LLP has put the payroll for May into a secure account,” the spokesperson said.
The firm warned US staff on Friday that the firm could close and they could lose their jobs (8 May 2012).
The firm is already in talks over the UK and French LLP potentially going into administration, with BDO hired as advisers (1 May 2012).
The firm’s London trainees are scrambling to find jobs (25 April 2012), with former office head Peter Sharp – who has quit for Morgan Lewis & Bockius (3 May 2012) – heading efforts to find them new homes, including holding a briefing with the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.
Today’s meeting was arranged by European insolvency head Bruce Johnston, who is set to join Morgan Lewis & Bockius and was present at the session alongside European restructuring head Mark Fennessy. It is also understood that some associates expressed anger at the non-appearance of Sharp.
Sharp told The Lawyer: “I’m continuing to work with Dewey & LeBoeuf to find the best possible outcome for as many as possible of its lawyers, trainees and staff.”
It is thought that Dewey City associates who find new jobs are required to serve their notice period or wait until they are released by the firm, with some lawyers understood to be turning up to work just in order to meet these obligations and not carrying out much legal work.