Dewey real estate practice is unchanged: Saft

TRD New York /
Mar.March 19, 2012 02:30 PM

Dewey & Leboeuf, a law firm with one of the city’s largest real estate practices, responded to the many news reports of financial and personnel trouble at the organization today by assuring clients that the real estate practice is largely unaffected.

An email today from Stuart Saft, partner and chair of the real estate department at Dewey, to his clients, obtained by The Real Deal, said that “none of the real estate partners are involved, none of the disaffected partners are real estate partners and none of the disaffected partners nor their staffs ever performed any work for the real estate department’s clients.”

A story in the New York Times last week said that Dewey had cut 5 percent of its attorneys and 6 percent of its staff and noted that 19 of its 300 partners have left since January. Then, Friday, media reports indicated that 12 additional insurance and regulatory attorneys had departed the firm for Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

In his note, Saft attributed the bad press to partners who had left the firm because they were unhappy with the compensation or were asked to leave for other reasons. “Please be assured that neither I nor my department are affected by any of these departures and we continue to represent our clients on a full time basis,” Saft said in the statement.

Dewey has been caught up in a difficult transition from a more traditional partnership system to one that more resembles baseball’s “free-agent” system, wherein law firms hoard talent that can bring a large book of business, the Times said. — Guelda Voien

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