Streams

The Collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New Yorker staff writer James Stewart on the collapse of the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, which was crippled by financial problems and partner defections, and filed for bankruptcy in May 2012, making it the largest law firm collapse in United States history. He’s written about it in the latest issue of The New Yorker.

Guests:

James Stewart

Comments [2]

Ann Feldman from Brooklyn, NY

I worked at Catalyst Legal Resources for about 18 years, beginning in the early 70s, placing lawyers at law firms (mostly) and corporations. The job was a joy for about a dozen of those years, but slowly the greed of big-firm attorneys and the infiltration of the lawyer recruiting business by aggressive ex-lawyers turned it into an unpleasant endeavor. Many firms developed reputations as nightmarish places for associates. I would see applicants with facial tics, hair-pulling mania, hives, firms where well-earned vacations were cancelled on a partner's whim. The medium-sized firms that had been our best clients found themselves squeezed and forced into mergers, and pressured to match the ever-escalating salaries paid by the large high-pressure law firms. I was very relieved to finally be out of it and have never looked back.

Oct. 10 2013 01:27 PM
Evan S Cowit from New York, NY

With all due respect to the guest, he's delusional if he thinks, even in the glory days of the white shoe exclusionary firms of Cravath and Sullivan & Cromwell, it wasn't about money. Maybe, it wasn't discussed but no one at those firms was devoting themselves to the common good. It was a system in which those in power and their big corporate clients were just less showy about money.

I've also found that Mr. Stewart has a real problem with non-WASPs having power. He did a hatchet job on Jews in "Den of Thieves" and the contempt he has for Italians is evident in his article and now with Leonard. It's of a piece with his glorifying of the Cravath model - "what happened to the days when the old boys club ruled and ethnics knew their place?"

Oct. 10 2013 12:49 PM

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