Almost three weeks after the merger that created Dewey & LeBoeuf became official, the newly merged firm has decided not to appoint a London head. Steven Davis, settling in as chairman of the recently merged $1 billion-plus Dewey & LeBoeuf, was in London last week to unveil the firm’s new management structure. Or, in London’s case, lack of structure. Davis said that he himself would take a hands-on role in the management of the strategically crucial office, which has just less than 200 attorneys, and he plans to spend one or two weeks each month in residence in London.
Instead of choosing between legacy London heads Fred Gander and Peter Sharp, or simply giving both management titles, the merged firm has ducked the issue. The management structure that Dewey & LeBoeuf has opted for in London — which the firm says is similar to the way the New York office is run — might make sense a few years down the track, but not in the midst of post-merger consolidation. The need for full-time, on-the-ground leadership appears even more vital given that the London offices of both legacy firms are still digesting numerous partner-level lateral hires in recent years, such as Carlo Kostka and Alastair Crawford, who joined Dewey from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and a three-partner team who came to LeBoeuf from Freshfields.
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