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Dewey LeBoeuf -- And How!

Even before Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf Lamb announced their merger late Friday, Bruce MacEwen was dissecting the deal at his blog Adam Smith, Esq. The merger, which awaits votes of the two firms' partners, would create the firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. With 1,300 lawyers and annual revenue of more than $900 million, it would be the 11th largest firm in the United States.

Not only are the firms "astonishingly well-matched," says MacEwen, but their merger is a deal that could make "tremendous sense" for both firms:

"Not to put too fine a point on it, but both firms are in similar boxes. That box, with apologies to my home town, is overwhelming New York-centricity.  As a global capital market center, New York's pre-eminence is threatened as it never has been in the lifetime of those practicing today.  This is a combination of globalization in general (when there are international alternatives, there are international alternatives); the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley, real and perceived; the omnipresent plaintiffs' securities bar in the US; and the overhang of the 'Spitzer Effect.' If a city set out on a conscious program to position itself as friendly to global capital formation, it's safe none of these phenomena would be on its agenda."

While New York's status as a financial hub faces no immediate threat, MacEwen says, both firms need to be developing a plan for the longer term. In the case of this merger, the plan, suggests MacEwen, may be that there is strength in numbers. Indeed, the firms' joint press release suggests as much when it says:

"The combined firm, which will be known as Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, will be an established powerhouse in New York, Washington, D.C., and London, the most important cities for transaction deal flow. Dewey & LeBoeuf will cover 12 countries, ranking 13th globally and third among U.S. firms in terms of number of countries covered, as per ALM Global 100 2006. It will rank as the fifth largest firm in New York City with approximately 550 lawyers and the fifth largest U.S.-headquartered firm in London with approximately 170 lawyers. Dewey & LeBoeuf also will have a presence in nearly every key international financial and commercial center and will rank as the 14th largest firm by headcount and the 16th largest firm by revenue in the United States."

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Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 27, 2007 at 06:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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