NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - Leveraged-finance
attorney John Cobb has left Dewey & LeBoeuf for Weil, Gotshal & Manges, a move that comes amid reports of trouble at Dewey.
Cobb, who became a partner in Weil's capital markets
practice in New York on Monday, was head of the leveraged
finance group at Dewey, which he joined in 2009 from Milbank,
Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.
Weil announced Cobb's hire on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Dewey chairman Steve Davis announced
internally that his firm was cutting its attorney ranks by 5
percent, as first reported by law blog Above the Law. The firm
posted a tepid 1 percent growth in profits per equity partner
last year, according to The American Lawyer. Profits per equity
partner at Weil last year were up by about 8 percent.
California legal newspaper Daily Journal and Above the Law
published reports this month of anonymous sources saying that
the firm is deferring payments to partners and reducing
compensation to others.
Cobb, 44, said that he moved to Weil to take his practice
"to the next level." He said that Weil will enable him to expand
his practice in high-yield capital markets and leveraged
lending. His departure, he said, "wasn't about what's going on
Asked whether other attorneys from Dewey's leveraged finance
group would follow him to Weil, Cobb said, "Not immediately. Not
at this point. I really can't comment on that."
A spokesman for Dewey & LeBoeuf declined to comment about
Cobb's departure or the firm's financial performance.
In addition to Weil's hire, Sidley Austin announced on
Tuesday that tax lawyer Michael Duff was joining its Los Angeles
office as a partner from Dewey & LeBoeuf. Duff practices in the
area of federal taxation, with an emphasis on matters relating
to renewable energy, partnership taxation and infrastructure
Created in 2007 through the merger of Dewey Ballantine and
LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, Dewey & LeBoeuf has about 1,000
attorneys in 25 locations. Its largest offices are in New York,
London and Washington.
Before working at Milbank, Cobb, a graduate of St. John's
University School of Law, was at Lehman Brothers. He represents
banks, investors and mezzanine funds, as well as issuers, in
banking and securities transactions. Recent deals include
representing the initial purchaser in connection with $225
million of high-yield bonds for The New York Times Co. He also
represented the initial purchasers in connection with $315
million of high-yield notes for YCC Holdings and Yankee Finance
(Reporting by Leigh Jones)
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