US law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf has filed for bankruptcy after a partner exodus, in what the New York Times called the biggest law firm collapse in US history.
“Unlike most other Chapter 11 cases, this filing does not anticipate a return to business but rather a managed wind-down of affairs, followed by liquidation,” the firm said in a statement late Monday.
“The needs of all of the firm’s law clients continue to be served, mainly by former Dewey & LeBoeuf law partners who have moved on to other firms in recent months,” it said.
Dewey & LeBoeuf employed more than 1,100 lawyers in 26 worldwide offices, and was among the largest law firms in New York City and the largest US firms in London, according to its website.
The New York Times said the firm’s roots go back more than a century, and that it emerged in its present form after the 2007 merger of Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae.
The Times said the bankruptcy came after a turbulent period of disappointing profits and heavy debts forced the firm to slash partner salaries.
Dewey & LeBoeuf was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, but continued to offer lavish, multimillion-dollar guarantees to top partners and promising recruits — obligations it could not meet, the Times said.
The firm’s clients included computer giant Dell and software-maker Oracle, as well as Japanese electronics-maker Panasonic and Russian bank Sberbank.