Dewey to lose recently-hired City private equity team to McDermott

Dewey & LeBoeuf is set to lose its London private equity team to McDermott Will & Emery, less than a year after hiring a partner duo from Taylor Wessing to launch the practice.

The firm launched the dedicated private equity team last summer with the hire of Taylor Wessing’s private equity head Mark Davis and fellow partner Russell Van Praagh.

The partner duo, whose clients include private equity houses such as The Carlyle Group and Oakley Capital, will join McDermott’s London office once they have served out their 60-day notice period, which was recently imposed on all of the firm’s partners by Dewey management.

McDermott is also in talks to take on the remainder of the London private equity team, which includes nine associates.

The London exits bring the number of partner departures from Dewey since the beginning of this year closer to 60, with nearly 20 rival firms capitalising on the exodus by picking off individual partners and teams from a number of offices.

Most recently, Los Angeles partner David Smith left to join the Santa Monica office of Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, while corporate finance partner Richard Spitzer joined Mayer Brown in New York. The firm has also seen a number of departures in London this month with commercial litigator Nicholas Rock leaving to join Reed Smith and corporate partner Prakash Paran moving to DLA Piper.

The news comes after Legal Week reported that Dewey is set to defer a portion of its partners’ compensation for as long as 10 years as part of a ‘financial incentives plan’ designed in an effort to retain partners.

The firm’s newly created five-member executive body is in the process of finalising the plan, which has come in response to strains on the 1,000-lawyer firm’s finances caused in part by pay guarantees handed out to star partners and the continued stream of departures.

McDermott could not be reached for comment.

For more, see Senior Taylor Wessing private equity duo to launch City practice for Dewey.