Lawyers destroying value

May 2nd, 2012  |  Source:

Dewey & LeBoeuf, the New York law firm crippled by financial mismanagement, an exodus of partners and a criminal investigation of its former chairman, encouraged its partners on Monday evening to look for another job, according to an internal memo.

The firm’s leadership has been scrambling in recent days to stave off failure by merging with another law firm and persuading its lenders not to push it into liquidation.

“All partners,” said the memo, which was reviewed by The New York Times, “are encouraged to seek out alternative opportunities.”

The memo represents the latest chapter in a tumultuous period for Dewey, which has come apart after disappointing profits forced its leadership to slash partners’ compensation.

An accelerating wave of partner defections since January — more than 85 of its 300 partners have left, including at least 11 on Monday — has imperiled the firm.

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