Dewey City partner duo quit for DLA and Reed Smith as exits continue

Dewey & LeBoeuf is set to lose another two partners in London, with commercial litigator Nicholas Rock leaving to join Reed Smith and junior corporate partner Prakash Paran moving to DLA Piper.

Rock, who was co-head of the US firm’s environmental litigation practice, has 20 years’ experience in commercial litigation, with a focus on climate change law.

Meanwhile, Paran is moving to DLA with two London colleagues, of counsel Roger Loo and senior associate Melanie James, both of whom are joining DLA’s City base as of counsel. Paran, a member of Dewey’s insurance and reinsurance group, was made up to partner at the firm in January 2011.

The news comes shortly after DLA recruited a four-strong US corporate team from Dewey including partners John Altorelli and Alexander Fraser.

Altorelli, who is joining DLA in New York as co-chair of the firm’s domestic finance practice, last week gave a frank interview to The Am Law Daily in which he said he expected further departures from the firm.

“I’m not sure how they can weather the departures. To be fair, I expect there will be more. There are younger guys down the food chain not making that much money,” he said. (click here to read more)

Dewey has lost around 50 partners since January amid much scrutiny of its finances. London partners Joseph Ferraro and Nicholas Bugler left as part of a twelve-partner walkout to Willkie Farr & Gallagher last month, while six further exits last week took total partner departures from the firm to 47 since January. It is understood that the firm is close to breaching covenants on some loans as a result of the departures.

The latest departures come after the remaining Dewey partners last week voted in favour of a new five-headed management structure, with the heads of its most profitable practices – bankruptcy, corporate, litigation and public policy – forming a temporary new management team alongside chairman Steven Davis.

Davis is set to return to practice and will relocate to London as part of the shake-up, while London partner Stephen Horvath will take up a new role as executive partner.

News also emerged last week that the firm is set to defer a portion of its partners’ compensation for as long as 10 years in an effort to stabilise its business.

For more, see Dewey to forge long-term incentive plan to retain partners.