Dewey & LeBoeuf sign
(ALM/Maggie Soladay)

Former leaders of Dewey & LeBoeuf who are facing criminal charges have been granted limited access to the firm’s accounting system as they prepare for a trial anticipated to start early next year.

The Dewey estate previously granted limited access to the firm’s accounting system to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which alleges Steven Davis, Stephen DiCarmine, Joel Sanders and Zachary Warren helped orchestrate a massive fraud that contributed to the firm’s bankruptcy.

Defense lawyers have long argued for access. In court papers filed last month, they said lack of access “has frustrated the defendants’ ability to prepare for trial—a trial that will focus heavily on [Dewey's] accounting practices.”

In a protective order signed Aug. 5, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz (See Profile) ordered the Dewey liquidation trust to provide the defendants with the same privileges afforded the district attorney.

The order said the Dewey trust will maintain the accounting system through Nov. 30, and prosecutors and the defendants may pay the cost of maintaining the system afterward.

Under the order, the defense cannot disclose the information to third parties and does not have the right to information protected by a privilege enjoyed by Dewey or a former Dewey client.

Ned Bassen, a Hughes Hubbard & Reed partner who represents Sanders, said he was pleased Stolz signed the order. “We have been pursuing access to the system for months in order to prepare for trial, and now we have it,” he said.