Rallying to Steven Davis’s defense, several of his former
LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae
colleagues are taking issue with what they see as a concerted effort by those tied to legacy firm
to blame the ousted Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman for all the struggling firm’s woes. One thing Davis’s defenders say he definitely can’t be faulted for: Dewey’s inability to collect on a $9.6 million tab racked up representing the late brother of former vice-chairman Morton Pierce on SEC charges.
One former partner at both Dewey & LeBoeuf and LeBoeuf Lamb, where Davis served as chairman prior to the merger, questions the appointment of three former Dewey Ballantine partners— litigators Harvey Kurzweil and Seth Farber, and firm general counsel Janis Meyer—to conduct the firm’s internal investigation and act as its counsel in connection with the criminal probe being conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The trio is working closely with
, a former federal prosecutor and chairman of New York–based compliance, investigation, and security consulting firm
according to The New York Times
This former partner and two other ex–Dewey & LeBoeuf partners say they don’t believe any criminal activity occurred at the firm and that Davis has unfairly been placed under a cloud.
“Every special contract that was awarded, every deal that was cut, was known to the entire partnership, it wasn’t some big secret,” says one of the former Dewey & LeBoeuf partners. “And people could have objected to certain things in meetings, but, like me, they were too chickenshit to raise their hand. And so I left.”
Pinkas, 58, was Pierce’s younger brother, according to an
obituary published by The (Cleveland) Plain-Dealer
New York Times death notice
. The obituary and death notice state that Pinkas graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and began his legal career at Simpson Thacher in New York, before changing careers and returning to Cleveland in 1980 with McKinsey & Co. In 1984, Pinkas founded his own investment firm called Brantley Partners.
One former Dewey lawyer familiar with the Pinkas case, which is currently on hold as the SEC considers whether to press a claim against his estate, says that
entered initial appearances for Pinkas in 2009 before Dewey took over the matter a short time later, an engagement for which it would not be paid in full.
Stephen Sozio, a Jones Day litigation partner in Cleveland, was representing Pinkas in the administrative action filed by the SEC earlier this year. He confirmed Dewey’s role handling the bulk of the case against his client, but declined to comment on any other issues pertaining to the SEC’s actions against Pinkas.
Former Dewey partners tell The Am Law Daily that issues with the insurance companies that held the policies on Pinkas’s Brantley-related entities complicated the firm’s ability to collect on its bills in the case. In the end, Dewey wrote off a $9.6 million legal tab for its representation of Pinkas and BCM, according to one former partner knowledgeable of the case and confirmed by a partner currently with the firm.
Asked to comment on whether Dewey gave Pinkas a discount on its representation of his brother, Pierce politely declined. “I’m not commenting on that,” he said. “I’m not talking about my brother.”
An outside spokesman for Dewey,
, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the firm’s legal fees on the Pinkas case.
A Dewey source also confirmed Friday that the firm’s executive director, Stephen DiCarmine, has retained Edward Little, chair of the white-collar practice group at
Hughes Hubbard & Reed
. Little did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Kurzweil and Guidepost’s Schwartz did not return phone calls.
said Friday he could not discuss details about Dewey’s internal investigation.
Additional reporting by Julie Triedman.