NEW YORK, June 8 (Reuters) - The New York City Bar Association is taking steps to help displaced Dewey & LeBoeuf
employees prepare for new careers, following the law firm's
collapse last month.
The association is hosting two career-planning sessions this
summer targeted at the hundreds of lawyers and staff laid off by
Dewey & LeBoeuf. It is the first time in memory that the city
bar has responded to a single law firm in crisis, a sign of the
impact of Dewey's failure on New York's legal community.
The first session, targeted at attorneys, is scheduled for
July 10 and will feature a panel discussion on job search
techniques and sessions with career advisers. A date for a
second session, for Dewey's support staff, still has to be set.
The association has held career programs before for lawyers
affected by recession. However, association president Carey
Dunne said this is the first time that he was aware of the group
reacting to a single law firm's closure. Dunne, a partner at
Davis Polk & Wardwell, said the program is being planned
independently of Dewey & LeBoeuf, although the city bar has been
in contact with the firm.
Once one of the largest law firms in the United States,
Dewey & LeBoeuf filed for bankruptcy May 29. The firm had
suffered a wave of partner defections since the start of the
year, amid concerns about compensation and a heavy debt load.
Prior to its collapse, Dewey & LeBoeuf had been the
eighth-largest private law office in New York with 476
attorneys, according to an annual survey published Monday by the
New York Law Journal. It had 1,040 lawyers firmwide in 2011,
including 614 associates.
Firm representatives have repeatedly declined to say how
many employees lost their jobs as a result of Dewey's collapse.
A class action complaint filed last week in Dewey's bankruptcy
proceeding estimated Dewey laid off 550 employees in the United
In New York, where Dewey was based, the firm last month laid
off 433 people, according to a notice posted by the New York
State Department of Labor. The firm entered bankruptcy with 150
employees in the United States, though it is now down to just
90, according to bankruptcy records and a firm spokesman.
Many employees have already found new jobs at firms like
Winston & Strawn, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Duane Morris,
firms which, in the final weeks, hired large groups of Dewey
partners or took over entire offices outside the United States.
Albert Togut of Togut, Segal & Segal, Dewey's bankruptcy
lawyer, said in court last week that "a significant majority" of
the firm's personnel had obtained employment elsewhere. Togut
did not return a call for comment Friday.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond)
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