As Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders mull bankruptcy options, a large group of former partners already is organizing and retaining lawyers in anticipation of the proceedings. More than 50 former partners, organized by an informal steering committee, are expected to retain Mark Zauderer, a partner at Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer. When reached for comment yesterday, Zauderer confirmed his expected representation.
Partners are seeking representation for defense in so-called clawback attempts should the firm seek money from ex-partners and representation for possible claims against the firm and its leaders over compensation they could be owed. Zauderer declined to comment on the specific nature of possible claims.
Zauderer represented a senior partner against clawback claims by the trustee in the 1988 bankruptcy of Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Heine, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey. He also has served as special litigation counsel in bankruptcy court and has represented law firms in partnership disputes. Zauderer confirmed that he expects to work with Andrew Eckstein, a Blank Rome restructuring partner in New York. Eckstein previously advised Citibank on the dissolutions of Thelen and Thacher Proffitt & Wood, and represented the bank in connection with Howrey’s dissolution. Eckstein said in an interview he has been contacted by a group of ex-partners, in conjunction with Zauderer’s representation. He declined further comment.
Tracy Klestadt, a bankruptcy partner at Klestadt & Winters, also said yesterday he is representing “a number” of former partners.
The Wall Street Journal reported on May 18 that Dewey is preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing in the next several weeks. Joff Mitchell, a senior managing director at Zolfo Cooper, confirmed yesterday that he is the firm’s chief restructuring officer but declined further comment. Janis Meyer, Dewey’s general counsel, did not return a message seeking comment.