May 12, 2012 / 12:34 AM / 6 years ago

Then and now: A Dewey timeline

(Reuters) - January 1909 - Three Harvard Law grads form the Wall Street law firm Root, Clark & Bird that later became Dewey Ballantine.

October 1919 - Arthur Ballantine, the first solicitor of the Internal Revenue Service, joins the firm.

October 7, 1929 - Randall LeBoeuf co-founds LeBoeuf & Winston in Albany, New York.

1955 - Former New York governor and two-time GOP presidential candidate Thomas Dewey joins Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood.

1962 - Randall LeBoeuf hired to defend ConEd’s “Storm King” power generation project on the Hudson River; the case gives rise to the Environmental Protection Act and helps establish the firm’s energy practice.

2000 - “The American Lawyer” reports that Dewey Ballantine has fallen to 43rd place in its annual ranking of law firms by revenue, down from 25th place in 1997.

2003 - Sports litigator Jeffrey Kessler joins Dewey Ballantine from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He supports compensation guarantees and ultimately lands a $5.5 million (3.42 million pounds) a year contract, according to the New York Times.

September 2006 - Dewey Ballantine and Orrick enter merger talks, prompting at least 10 Dewey partner defections.

January 2007 - Merger talks between Dewey and Orrick are called off, in part over Dewey’s unfunded pension obligations.

October 1, 2007 - Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae join to create Dewey & LeBoeuf, a deal spearheaded by LeBoeuf’s Steven Davis and Dewey’s Morton Pierce.

December 2007 - Bankruptcy lawyer Martin Bienenstock joins Dewey from Weil Gotshal with a reported pay guarantee of around $6 million, according to “The Lawyer.”

December 2007 - U.S. economic activity peaks, marking the beginning of the Great Recession.

December 2008 - Dewey withholds pay from junior partners because of profit shortfall in 2008, according to “The Lawyer.”

July 2009 - Richard Climan, chair of Cooley’s mergers and acquisitions practice, moves to Dewey with a guarantee of $3.5 million a year, according to “The Recorder.”

April 2010 - The firm raises $125 million in a bond offering to refinance existing bank debt, an unusual move for a U.S. law firm.

June 2011 - Dewey makes ”The American Lawyer’s “A List” of the top 20 U.S. law firms and is named “Insurance Law Firm of the Year” in Chambers USA Awards for Excellence.

June 2011 - Los Angeles Dodgers taps Dewey team, led by Bruce Bennett, to handle the team’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

April 3, 2012 - “The American Lawyer” reports that it has to revise Dewey’s 2010 and 2011 financial results downward, based on new information. Instead of reported revenues of $935 million for 2011, the figure is $782 million, according to the publication.

April 27, 2012 - Firm management circulates an email to partners, saying the Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating “allegations of wrongdoing” by former chairman Steven Davis.

April 30, 2012 - An internal firm memo encourages partners to look for new jobs.

May 4, 2012 - Dewey issues a WARN notice to employees, advising them that the firm could close and that staff could be terminated.

Reporting by Terry Baynes; Editing by Prudence Crowther

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